Rangers Make Final Cuts, Dylan “Undertaker” McIlrath on roster

NEWARK, NJ - SEPTEMBER 26: Dylan McIlrath #6 of the New York Rangers skates against the New Jersey Devils during a preseason game at the Prudential Center on September 26, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

McIlrath(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Rangers have gotten their roster down to 23 players. It was announced today on the team’s web site that the Rangers waived Raphael Diaz and Jayson Megna. Megna will probably clear and go to Hartford while a veteran Defenseman like Diaz will no doubt be claimed. The Bruins are starved for veteran help on the back-end and are likely to claim him. This seasons cap constraints make $700K veteran defenseman valuable.

Both Diaz and Megna can be claimed by 12:00PM today. If they clear, they will begin the season in Hartford.

As for the hulking defenseman who has tried so hard to make the Rangers, he was pretty happy. Per the NYPOST:

“Just overwhelmed with excitement,” McIlrath said Friday with a deadpan delivery that belied his joy in the moment. “It’s been a pretty long road to get to this point. I’ve obviously worked really hard, and it makes it that much more gratifying when you’ve faced some adversity.”

As of now the Rangers have 14 forwards and 7 defenseman on the roster. Dylan McIlrath has finally made the NHL roster although as of now he looks to be a healthy scratch and injury fill in. In cutting Diaz and keeping Dylan McIlrath, the cap strained Rangers managed to save about $100K in cap salary. New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton had some kind words for “The Undertaker” Dylan McIlrath.
"Here's a guy we drafted years ago and it's been a long road, and to have him make our team and be a part of it, it is good," stated Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton. "Dylan has come a long way. It's always good for the organization when somebody you drafted eventually makes it, and deservedly so."

In practice today the Rangers were working with some line combinations. In the past Alain Vigneault usually took a month or more before he decided on the line combinations he wanted to stick with. Today the forward lines were as follows.

Rick Nash-Derick Brassard-Mats Zuccarello

Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Kevin Hayes

Viktor Stalberg-Oscar Lindberg-J.T. Miller

Dominic Moore-Jarret Stoll-Jesper Fast

Extra-Emerson Etem, Tanner Glass

Tanner Glass was not out on the ice for practice as he was hurt blocking a shot. Only word as of yet on his status is that he’s dealing with a sore foot.

In practice the Rangers defence pairs were as follows.

Ryan McDonagh-Dan Girardi

Marc Staal-Dan Boyle

Keith Yandle-Kevin Klein

The Rangers wasted no time getting their final roster down to 23

As of now the 23 man roster seems to be set. However, the Rangers are extremely tight on cap space. It’s unclear at this time as to the exact number for the Rangers cap charge. Some say the Rangers are $225K clear of the $71.4 mil cap. Others have the Rangers operating at a training camp payroll of $500K over the salary cap at this time.

One thing is for sure that Jeff Gorton will have the Rangers cap compliant by the first day of the regular season. The Rangers may eventually have to operate with 22 players by waiving another forward. It’s always possible Gorton works out a trade, if only to cut salary. For the time being, Jeff Gorton said on the Rangers web site that they’ll keep a full 23 man roster for now. They (Gorton & Vigneault) feel the need to carry two extra forwards to allow themselves more time to evaluate the entire group.