Dylan McIlrath a victim of the times and his coach
It’s almost as if Dylan McIlrath never had a chance.
Drafted During A Team In Flux
When the Rangers drafted the 6’5″, 220 lbs defenseman, they did so for head coach, John Tortorella. The scouting report on him stated he’s a tough defenseman who fights for every inch of ice, clears the crease and is willing to intimidate the opposition. Traits that hard-nosed Torts coveted in his defenseman and players.
Sadly for McIlrath, John Tortorella would be fired before he could make his debut. In Torts’ place, a totally different kind of coach for the new emerging game. Alain Vigneault was hired to turn a grinding, shot-blocking club into a quick transition, up-tempo team. For the average skating bruising defenseman, this was the kiss of death.
In fairness, the game is moving in that direction so it is hard to blame the coach. Still, many successful teams have Dylan McIlrath type defensemen. I look at Ben Lovejoy of the champion Penguins as a perfect example.
Not An AV Guy
Let’s face facts, from the onset AV really didn’t appreciate his game. Sure he said the right things today but actions speak louder than words.
[su_quote cite=”NYPOST” url=”https://nypost.com/2016/10/27/rangers-dylan-mcilrath-blames-only-himself-after-getting-waived/”]“We all appreciate him as a person. He’s done everything that has been expected of him and more,” Vigneault said. “Selfishly, I hope he clears waivers and goes to Hartford and plays. But if somebody would pick him up and give him an opportunity, I would be very happy for him. But that’s where we are. We felt it was time, and that’s what we did.” [/su_quote]
In total, McIlrath played 38 games for the Rangers and that’s probably because of all the injuries they suffered on defense last season. Bottom line, AV felt he was lacking with the puck and really doesn’t feel what he brings to the table has any place in the game today.
Case in point, in his only action this season against San Jose he played 9:14. Why? Did he commit a turnover that led to a goal? No. He defended his goalie who got bumped an fought Thomas Hertl. Matter of fact, it was Hertl who high sticked him and wanted to fight. McIlrath obliged and even though he let up, the ref gave him 4 minutes. AV gave him the bench. Like I said, AV doesn’t care for his game.
McIlrath Only Blames Himself, He’s Wrong
When asked about his thoughts on the decision, McIlrath expressed disappointment. “This year, I was more disappointed in myself, [not] earning that spot, and I take full onus. I’m never going to blame this on the coaches,” McIlrath said. “This was all about my play and not earning a spot in the lineup.”
The kid couldn’t be more wrong. He played to his strengths and unfortunately for him, the coach simply doesn’t care for his game. AV believes in good defensive positioning and quick transition. It is more important to make a good outlet pass in his mind, than it is for having a defenseman who can clear the crease or answer the bell when needed.
Dylan McIlrath is going to be claimed…and he is going to succeed on another team. Let’s just hope it’s in another conference, because I wouldn’t want to see him light up the first Rangers forward that tries to enter the zone down his side.