NEW YORK - OCTOBER 27: Anthony Stewart #22 of the Atlanta Thrashers skates against Matt Gilroy #97 of the New York Rangers on October 27 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
With the Rangers being so deep on defense, 26-year-old Matt Gilroy's future on Broadway is in question. His name has been thrown around in countless trade rumors, which does not come as a surprise considering how head coach John Tortorella has not really given him the proper opportunity to crack the lineup on a consistent basis at the National Hockey League level. Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun again brought up Gilroy's name in one of his articles recently, saying that if the Blueshirts were to make a move for a center before the trade deadline, the former Hobey Baker Award winner could possibly be a key trading piece.
If the Rangers decide to go get a centre, and they’re expected to make a move for Richards before the trade deadline, they may deal D Matt Gilroy as part of package. The 26-year-old has a cap hit of $1.75 million and will be an RFA next summer. He’s been passed on the depth chart by Steve Eminger and Michael Sauer. Gilroy is young enough that he could bring return. GM Glen Sather can’t afford to wait much longer...
Garrioch is exactly right that Gilroy has been beaten out by Michael Sauer and Steve Eminger, which makes me wonder if he will ever get a chance on the New York Rangers. Personally, I believe the kid has the potential to be a top four defenseman in the NHL, but New York may not be the ideal place for him to do so. If he could not edge Sauer or Eminger, why should I believe he will get a spot on defense over prospects such as Ryan McDonagh and Pavel Valentenko? I do not think he will.
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Gilroy is an offensive defenseman, so there is not a whole lot of physicality to his game. That is where Tortorella has been disappointed with Matt and that is why Eminger and Sauer are playing over him. If you recall, Gilroy was sent down to the AHL last season because the coaching staff was not happy with his battle level. Battle level usually starts with using the body in a gritty way, something Gilroy is not exactly accustomed to doing.
If Gilroy could somehow build in the physicality area of his game, there is no doubt in my mind that he would be in the lineup every night and his name would not be in all of these trade rumors. But that does not seem like it is happening anytime soon, so that means he will most likely never have a spot on Tortorella's defense. It is unfortunate for him, but you have to realize that hockey is a business as well as a sport.
GM Glen Sather has already stated his desire for a first line center for Marian Gaborik. Teams are obviously going to be looking for youth in return, but Slats would be making a mistake by trading players of this team's core away. Gilroy is young, but not necessarily a part of the core since he does not always play. Therefore, he is probably Sather's most valuable and reasonable trading piece. I would hate to see Gilroy go, but I must admit that trading him for a needed center might make sense.