Defense

With a John Moore suspension looming, what are the options?

john moore
Moore.

John Moore is almost guaranteed a suspension. An in-person hearing with the Department of Player Safety doesn’t guarantee a suspension, but it gives them the option of suspending a player more than five games. Since Moore is a repeat offender, receiving two games for a hit on Dale Weise in last year’s playoffs, it’s a guarantee he misses at least three games, likely five or more.

At the moment, Matt Hunwick is playing somewhat steady filling in for the injured Dan Boyle. Mike Kostka played one game, had a few epic turnovers, but one game isn’t indicative of an entire career. Conor Allen is in Hartford, and he’s the guy most fans think is ready for a shot. Dylan McIlrath was the last one cut from camp, and the first round pick has shown significant progress and promise.

So what can the Rangers do?

Option A: Stay the course with Kostka

Pros: Kostka may have had a few bad (ok, awful) turnovers in his only bad appearance with the Rangers, but we tend to focus on major gaffes. There’s no hiding it, they were bad. But over his career, Kostka isn’t a bad defenseman. He’s a positive puck possession player, which is more than we can say for a few Rangers regulars. Assuming those turnovers were just one terrible game, he’d hold his own.

Cons: Those turnovers were pretty epic.

Option B: Call up Conor Allen

Pros: He’s a solid puck moving defenseman who appeared to hold his own in his three game cuppa last season. Considering the fact that the Rangers have had issues moving the puck from the defense to transition to offense, Allen could be a nice addition.

Cons: There’s a reason why the Rangers cut him before McIlrath, and there’s a reason why he only saw one cuppa last season. Allen may just need that opportunity, but he’s not exactly a young prospect.

Option C: Call up Dylan McIlrath

Pros: He had a great camp. He won the 7D spot, since he was better than both Hunwick and Kostka, but he needed playing time so he was sent back to the AHL. He’s been a solid defenseman in Hartford as well, playing top pairing minutes.

Cons: His skating has never been his strong point, he is susceptible to being caught out of position to deliver a big hit, and he’s not the puck mover that Allen (or Kostka) is.

The decision really depends on the length of the suspension. I’d expect Kostka to get at least a game or two, and who knows, maybe the Hunwick/Kostka stop-gap fills in admirably. They aren’t a long-term solution, but they won’t disrupt the prospect development.

If Kostka and/or Allen can’t handle it, then it really depends on who plays worse. We know that Alain Vigneault prefers to avoid off-handed defensemen on the blue line (McIlrath-righty, Allen-lefty), but the matchups may dictate if the Rangers need a bruiser (McIlrath) or a puck mover (Allen). The Rangers certainly have some nice stop-gap options.

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  • The Rangers need to invest in McIlrath, meaning boost his confidence by bringing him up and holding him capable. Sure he will make mistakes yet the experience will bode well for the Rangers, McIlrath and the fans.
    This would only make him better by being in the line up and a better evaluation of his capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. I think he will do well for his short but eventful experience.

  • Give Mc Ilrath a shot to see what he can do. He is a stay at home, and will add a physical element! Maybe that is what’s missing with the D this season, so what have we got to loose? I would like to see how far his has advanced since last season!!!!!

  • Bring up macilrath please I couldn’t take watching Kostka he’s horrible.give the kid a shot he wouldn’t be any worse.

  • McIlrath – Throw the kid a bone and see what he has got. Need to find out sooner rather than later if he is a fit.

    Thought AV stiffed him last year by sitting him out after he played one decent game which included a nice heavyweight battle with someone – can’t remember who it was though…

  • Kosta could hurt, I’d say hurt us more then Mc. If Mc does’t do well, he’d learn more and know what to work on more back down in Hartford. This is good for the Rangers overall.

    If Mc does need to go down, use Allen.

    I thought Boyle said he was a quick healer! Let’s go … HEAL!

  • Maybe it occurred before the Moore hit, but I was a bit puzzled that the Wolfpack sent Noreau, their seventh defenseman, down to Greenville. It doesn’t seem like the sort of move you make before sending one of your top six to NY.

    Mat Bodie is also an option.

  • McIlrath’s played 7 games with Hartford this season. Who’s seen them all? One? None? The Rangers have how many professional talent evaluators scrutinizing every one of his practices and games.

    There are 8 teams in the Metro Division. Seven have between 8-12 points. If they call up McIlrath it won’t be to “throw the kid a bone”, or “boost his confidence”, or “give him experience”, or “see what he can do”. It’ll be because the Rangers think the team will have a better chance of winning games when every point matters.

  • I was always of the opinion that he didn’t have NHL ability. I saw him in pre-season against Philly. He definitely improved but I still don’t see an NHL ready player.

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