Gilroy earning coach’s trust, more ice time

Source: Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images North America
Source: Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images North America

Matt Gilroy may not be the most complete defensemen. In fact, he isn’t a top-four defenseman at all. But this isn’t the same Matt Gilroy that came to the Rangers after college and was immediately exploited for not being NHL ready. Gilroy has some NHL experience under his belt now and it’s showing, as Torts has been playing Gilroy over ten minutes per game in the absence of Dan Girardi.

It’s interesting to see Gilroy getting the playing time over veteran Steve Eminger, but it’s clear the coaching staff has seen something in Gilroy’s game that is making them rely on him more than Eminger or Stu Bickel. Gilroy isn’t without his flaws, as he does have many, but he brings more to the lineup –specifically against teams that skate well– than the other two spares.

While Bickel may have become the whipping boy around these parts, Gilroy is slowing becoming a decent bottom pairing defenseman that the coaching staff has been able to rely on. It’s only been two games, so let’s not assume he has his position solidified, but it speaks volumes that Gilroy gets ten minutes while the Eminger/Bickel duo gets less than five.

Keeping in mind the small sample size, I looked at Gilroy’s metrics from last season with Ottawa. They aren’t impressive (-.048 QoC, 0.0 RCorsi, 51.3% OZone start after a whistle), but they’re not exactly terrible either. Aside from the fact that this is the first time I have ever seen a player with an exact 0.0 RCorsi, his number show that he can at least be an even player in regards to puck possession as a bottom pairing guy. Remember, bottom pairing players don’t draw the tough matchups.

We can chalk up Gilroy to the pleasant surprise column for the time being. It’s a small list, with just Taylor Pyatt and J.T. Miller on that list so far, but it’s a better list to be on than some of the others. Gilroy may not be a long-term solution, but he is earning his ice time with decent play, and that’s all anyone can ask for from a bottom-two defenseman.

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  • Maybe they can try Matt on the point, he has a decent shot!!!

    Your right, he is used against skating teams, not against grind teams. The only problem with Matt is he is too soft, although he did fight once his first season!! He is skilled, and I for one am glad that he is getting a shot to prove himself.

    • The problem with Gilroy as you pointed out is he needs the right pairing to compensate for his deficiencies.

      Bickle and Emminger do not help their partner. Stralman and Gilroy have similar skill sets.

      If MDZ is to stay with Staal on 2RD then we have Stral as 3RD and should look to upgrade 3LD (Gilroy, who will be playing his weak side).

      Otherwise you drop MDZ back to 3LD and bump Stral to 2RD. Then we need a 3RD. But if MDZ is going to be playing 3rd pair we should really consider looking to deal him for a bonafide 2nd pairing RD.

  • I say move Gilroy to FW and Boyle back to D.

    That’s where they started early in the careers.

    Im half-joking

  • I think Gilroy’s come in and done a decent job. Better than what I expected at least. He’s had a couple mental errors out there, but we can get away with playing him for the meantime.

    I still would like to upgrade that sixth defenseman spot. Trade deadline’s probably the time to do that.

    • Only problem with trade deadline this season, is that too many teams may not want to trade believing they have a shot at the play-offs!!!!

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