When the New York Rangers allowed players like Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley to walk right past them, I think all of us here—myself included—were … well …
filled with unquenchable rage unhappy. But with a night to think about it, and with consistent friendly little reminders that, yes, Gordie Clark drafted this kid; I have calmed down and realized that it was actually a great pick.
While many of you would have preferred Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Johansen or maybe even Jeff Skinner; once those guys were off the board there was no need to go after an offensive defenseman. Right now Michael Del Zotto is filling that position in the NHL and Bobby Sanguinetti and a plethora of other plays are filling it in the minors.
So what the Rangers did, was go out there and draft the biggest, meanest, most effective crease clearer in the draft. And as we all sat in front of our TV’s and computers with our mouths agape, gasping "whaaaaa," we failed to realize that Clark took a player that filled the exact need we have all been begging for.
How many times have you seen people on this site talking about the need for a crease clearing, bone crunching defenseman? How many times have you seen people say that they would throw millions of dollars at other, older, players of this sort because it was such a pressing need on this team?
Join me after the jump for much, much more:
In Dylan McIlrath’s 65 WHL games he put up 7 goals and 17 assists for 24 points. While his offense is by no means one of the calling card’s of his game, it’s still a tool that he is improving on. Mynhldraft.com has a full write up on him, written by thescoutingreport.org, I want to highlight a few things that they had to say about him and I bolded a few of the vital points:
Coming into his draft year as a 17 year old, McIlrath looked to vastly improve on those statistics with an improving team, and he would not disappoint. While playing in 65 of the team’s 72 games, McIlrath went on to make a name for himself as one of the most intimidating players in the entire WHL; not an easy feat for any player – let alone a 17 year old.Dylan put up 7 goals, 17 assists, a +20 rating, and 169 penalty minutes, all improving upon his rookie year – and earning him an invite to the CHL Top Prospect’s game. He would also go on to add 1 assist and a whopping 21 penalty minutes in 7 playoff games, while going -3 against the eventual WHL Champion Calgary Hitmen.
Most players will probably avoid the front of the net when playing the Warriors, unless they want to find themselves face-to-face with McIlrath, who is going to win the physical battle the majority of the time. He is a classic warrior, and the type of player that coaches love to have on their side – and hate to play against.
Anyone looking for videos of McIlrath will find a wide range of fight videos, but Dylan has also proven himself to be a very valuable defender. While limited in his offensive ability, he posted respectable numbers on a fairly weak team this season, and has shown potential in his heavy shot from the point. With 271 penalty minutes in 118 regular season games, there is no questioning McIlrath’s toughness, which is his biggest asset. The biggest thing for him to improve on is his acceleration and skating all around, but as far as mean, nasty defensive defencemen go, there aren’t many players as attractive as McIlrath.
Gordie Clark got his man, and I’m actually really, really happy about it. There are still some winners on the board for offense—mainly Krill Kabanov, I know that none of you want him but the kid has serious talent and I want him bad. But for the time being, no matter who the Rangers take, know that McIlrath fills out a need that is much more pressing than another scorer. At least if we’re not making the playoffs we can watch this kid destroy some souls.
For those of you worried about his skating, don't be. He is only 18 years old, and every expert has said that his skating has improved dramatically since the beginning fo the year. No, that doesn't mean it's great right now, but it is improving. At 18 he has plenty of time to grow in that category, so no need to worry about it today. He might be a few years away from the Rangers, but he is probably clsoer to NHL-ready than most of the other defenseman the Rangers could have taken.
And while it might not be by scoring goals, this kid will light up the score sheet for years to come. By dropping the gloves with other teams, not allowing other players to just park in front of Henrik Lundqvistand by finally punishing players who skate in the zone with their head down. This kid is an instant winner, going to be a fan favorite, and fills a position left vacant since Jeff Beukeboom left. Believe me, when you actually sit down and think about this, he was a can't miss.
And trust me, when McIlrath is destroying that suddenly very overrated punk "El Nino," no one will be dissapointed.
[Note by NYRBlogger, 06/26/10 9:56 AM EDT ] I just wanted to add this tidbit from
[Note by NYRBlogger, 06/26/10 9:56 AM EDT ] I just wanted to add this tidbit fromLarry Brooks of the New York Post this morning because I think it makes Joe's story even stronger. Apparently the Rangers weren't the only team who wanted this kid early.