Yesterday we talked about Steve Eminger and if the New York Rangers should try to re-sign him after some solid work in the 7th defenseman role last year. The response for Eminger was pretty positive, as it should have been. For the price tag he had, and the role he filled, he was a very solid part of the defensive corps.
Today's question is a little bit harder: Matt Gilroy.
Gilroy is a very interesting situation for the Rangers. He signed to play for New York after winning the Hobey Baker in 2008-2009. He joined the team with relatively high expectations to become a serviceable defenseman for the team. I mean, hey, you don't win an award for being the best player in the NCAA without being a good hockey player.
But Gilroy never hit the expectations. And after spending two years in New York he signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, before being traded to the Ottawa Senators. After not finding any work during the offseason - and not able to sign with an NHL team due to the lockout - the Rangers gave Gilroy a contract to play in the AHL, with the expectation being that if he played well (and the lockout ended) the Rangers would bring him back on an NHL contract.
That did happen. And Gilroy's numbers in the AHL (15 points in 34 games) were solid. But he had a tough time cracking the lineup for the Rangers when games started, only playing in 15 regular season games (where he didn't even average 10 minutes a game). In the playoffs Gilroy wasn't used at all, not even when the Rangers needed an emergency defenseman to slot into the lineup (John Tortorella selected Roman Hamrlik over Gilroy).
He's certainly not expensive, he had a $650,000 cap hit last year, but based off of his usage last year I'm not too sure he's worth bringing back even for the cheap price tag. Maybe if the Rangers decide they would rather have him than Eminger he might come back, but I can't think of too many reasons to pick Gilroy over Eminger. Gilroy is only less than a year younger (I know, this shocked me too) and is more integrated into the system.
Those types of things do matter, especially for a defenseman playing a "backup" role. Would Gilroy be willing to do the same? I'm not sure he'll have another option (I can't see teams falling over each other to get him). I'm also not sure the Rangers would give him the chance themselves.
What do you guys think? Would you keep him?