The New York Rangers had a strange luxury during the lockout, the ability to bring in some talented defensive depth. Matt Gilroy happened to be a free agent at the end of the year, making him eligible to sign an AHL contract during the lockout.
Which is exactly what the Rangers did.
And since then, Gilroy had held up to his end of the bargain too: Which is proving that he deserves a shot in the NHL. Remember, there are no NHL transactions allowed during the lockout. So Gilroy will remain under contract with the Connecticut Whale until the lockout is liften, then, if the Rangers are so inclined, they can offer him and NHL contract.
And right now, that seems like a possibility. Gilroy had two goals in the Whale's loss to the Norfolk Admirals, raising his point total to two goals and an assist in three games this year.
You all might remember Gilroy from last year. The former Rangers defenseman played in three playoff games for the Ottawa Senators against the Rangers. In 67 regular season games (split between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Senators) he scored three goals and added 17 assists for 20 points.
The Rangers wouldn't be looking to Gilroy, if they did sign him, for a major role. He would either be a sixth defenseman, or another depth defenseman. Interestingly enough, however, the Rangers did bring back Stu Bickel and Steve Eminger. Meaning the defensive depth seemed to be settled before the Rangers made the decision to bring Girloy into their AHL ranks.
So can Gilroy become a threat to a roster spot? Maybe. Maybe not. There's no doubt that he can have just as much of an impact, and maybe even more of an offensive impact, than Eminger. But Eminger knows the system, is happy with his role on the team and doesn't seem to mind sitting in the press pox most nights. Will Gilroy be the same way?
And what about Bickel? Despite his lack of playing time in the playoffs, John Tortorella loves his grit and obviously favors him enough to keep him in the lineup game in and game out.
Right now, though, he might not leave the Rangers much of a choice. Although, two things should be noted. 1) He's an NHL player playing in the AHL, so his numbers and play should reflect that; and 2) He's only played in three games thus far, which is obviously a remarkably small sample size.
Still, it's something other than the lockout to think about. Except for the fact that we can't see what the Rangers are going to do until the lockout is over.
Still, thoughts on this guys?