McIlrath is another example of the Rangers’ bad hockey logic

November 4th, 2014 at 7:15 pm by Bill


After Vladimir Tarasenko broke Dylan McIlrath’s ankles last night, the Rangers fan intranet was aflame with pent-up anger over the Rangers’ 10th overall pick in 2010. After all, Tarasenko was one of the players still on the board when Gordie Clarke announced McIlrath as the organization’s pick.

It wasn’t just Tarasenko though. There was Cam Fowler, whose ability to move the puck and contribute offensively is a role the Rangers have yet to fill. There was also Jaden Schwartz, Nick Bjugstad, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Charlie Coyle, and Brock Nelson. Hell, Brandon Gormley was on the board still and even though he hasn’t panned out, at least he would have been drafted for the right reasons.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

The correct reason to be pissed about the Rangers drafting McIlrath has nothing to do with the opportunity cost of not drafting Tarasenko, Fowler, or whoever else instead. Even though the Rangers arguments for not choosing the players listed above is probably weak even without the benefit of hindsight, drafts are crap shoots. There are many unknowns and few slam dunks.

The correct reason to be angry has everything to do with the Rangers front office being woefully behind the development of the NHL.

Even though there were clear indications that the NHL would increasingly move towards a game based on speed and skill and less on ‘toughness’ and ‘grit’, Gordie Clarke and Glen Sather used a 10th overall pick on a player whose nearly entire value was based on his meanness and fighting ability. Four years later the problem isn’t that McIlrath has proved to be a bust, it’s that even if he were an NHL quality defenseman, the attributes the Rangers drafted him for are nearly useless.

Last night, as predicted, McIlrath fought the St. Louis Blues’ worst player (sorry Ryan Reaves) in a fight that was staged and had no impact on what was otherwise a fantastic hockey game. It was a misplaced attempt for McIlrath to prove his value to the organization. But three games into his NHL career, Alain Vigneault in not so many words said that McIlrath’s most important attribute to Clarke and Sather in 2010, is no longer valid in today’s NHL:

Four years later, McIlrath is another uncomfortable example of the Rangers’ front office lack of understanding as to what makes team’s successful in today’s NHL. It stems from the same dated logic that brought Tanner Glass into the fold this summer and saw Anton Stralman kicked the curb without a firm offer on July 1st.

5 thoughts on “McIlrath is another example of the Rangers’ bad hockey logic

  1. CurtMac23

    Holy crap! I thought the Rangers made the Stanley Cup finals last year….Time to let this one go. BTW, if the Rangers met up with the Bruins in a seven game series, do you want Mats Zuccarello taking on Milan Lucic? From a homegrown talent acquisition standpoint, Sather can point to: Kreider, Zuccarello (UDFA), Girardi (UDFA), Staal, Duclair, Lundqvist, Hagelin, Fast and Stepan. Callahan and Dubinsky brought St. Louis and Nash (partially). Sather stole Ryan McDonough from Montreal. And would you trade Derek Brassard for Marion Gaborik straight up right now? So you want to criticize the decision to draft McIlrath? I don’t know a team in the NHL that could prepare for losing four of their top six defensemen in the first month of the season. Your hindsight on this is 20/20.

      1. CurtMac23

        Sorry if I hurt your feelings , but here is a quote from the blog. “Four years later, McIlrath is another uncomfortable example of the Rangers’ front office lack of understanding as to what makes team’s successful in today’s NHL.” Repeat, I thought #NYR made the Stanley Cup finals last season? Bully for you that you’re able to throw dirt on this kid’s NHL grave after 3 games. Without the injuries, is there really anyway McIlrath would have been on the ice on a penalty kill. The fact that you go for low lying fruit (Tarasenko goal) does not demonstrate to me that you have a desire to delve deeper than the merely superficial. Michael del Zotto came up with a bang, where is he now? People had questions about Marc Staal’s development at one time. There still is time to see if McIlrath is a hockey player who can fight. From that standpoint, McIlrath is a victim of his own ability to drop the gloves. No one buried Kostka after his brutal Islanders performance, but we bury McIlrath after one game. And Av’s comments are intendned to mean you will have to show me more than that big boy if you want to stick. A FAIR POINT. Not he doesn’t have the skills to play here which is what you derived. Sorry if I hurt your feelings by not agreeing 100% with your point, or even 20%, but maybe next time you’ll write about JT Miller, who has been given every opportunity.


    Curt , you are right on with the need to be tough ( especially during play-offs) a Tanner Glass and a Dylan McIlrath will be needed for protection purposes. They let their teammates know, we got your back. which makes the team play with confidence, not having to look over their shoulders.


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