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Thread: McIlrath's Hits a Bright Spot, But Wolf Pack Swept Away

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    McIlrath's Hits a Bright Spot, But Wolf Pack Swept Away

    Dare we hope? Here's are some tidbits of an article from Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant:

    The consolation prize for the Wolf Pack, meanwhile, is the knowledge that some of their young AHL talent took some strong strides this season into developing into NHL talent. Oscar Lindberg for one, and — bam! — McIlrath for another.

    "The second half of the season, from Christmas on, Dylan really started to take off," assistant coach Jeff Beukeboom said last week. "He's been exceptional. It's his time line, the best way to put it. The second half has been everything we could have wanted out of the kid. He's always competed hard and worked half. He's just come into his own."
    The Monarchs' leading playoff goal scorer, Michael Mersch, also didn't play in Game 4.

    That's because McIlrath put him out of the series with a mid-ice hit in Game 3 on Tuesday night. Beukeboom, a big, fierce hitter in his day on defense with the Edmonton Oilers and the Rangers, has been McIlrath's mentor. It shows.

    McIlrath, 6-5, 230 pounds, threw some hellacious hits in this game. He threw them all playoffs. The only louder sound heard in the XL Center during the past decade was when Jim Calhoun stamped his foot on the court after a bad call by a referee.

    "There's a heart and soul guy," Gernander said of McIlrath. "If you watched the way he finished the game, finished the season, he has made great progress. He played hard right to the end, some big hits, and they were all clean. He certainly was a presence, someone to be dealt with, in all three series with his physical play. But he didn't take himself out of position.

    "He was solid defending. I think he was a plus-player in every series. He did a great job. You want to talk about positives, there's one. He has worked as hard as he could for as long as he has been here to get a playoff opportunity as a key player, a go-to guy and he rose to the challenge."
    Picked 10th overall in the first round of the 2010 NHL draft by the Rangers, McIlrath dislocated his knee cap in a collision at Rangers' prospects camp in the summer of 2012. He had surgery and another procedure in October and played only 45 games that season. Some other injuries followed.

    "It was a pretty significant injury," Beukeboom said. "This is the first full season where he's been 100 percent healthy. I think that goes a long way."

    At 23, he has played in only three games in the NHL. The Rangers had the best record in the NHL this season, they can advance to their second Stanley Cup final in two years with a victory against Tampa Bay on Friday night. They are not starving for talent, but McIlrath made enough noise in a very quiet series against Manchester to tell the NHL, hey, look at me.

    "I was just gaining confidence throughout the year," McIlrath said. "I thought I had a good camp. I had a little bit of a bumpy road in November, but after that point on I felt like I just developed and improved every game. That's what I focused on.

    "Our group had a lot of positives, myself included. I thought I played a pretty good playoff and also can learn something. Take a look at Manchester, their skilled forwards, I can maybe do something better in the future and try to defend them better. I've got to look at everything, but I'm definitely going to take the positives."
    Jeff Jacbos, Hartford Courant, 05/27/2015
    http://www.courant.com/sports/hockey...Return&z=07722

    Obviously the article's a week or so old, because it still mentioned that we could move on if we beat the Lightning. And while we can obviously assume that anyone speaking about our prospects from within the organization is going to sugarcoat it, it's nice to see an outside party giving him some love.

    I highlighted the quote from Beuk because it addresses an argument (more of a hope, really) that we've heard on here before: he's not a bust yet; his development has been hampered by serious injuries.

    If it's truly the case that now that he was finally able to play a full season he was able to make strides developmentally, that's great news for our team. It's news that comes on the heels of Uncle Larry's observation that we need someone who will hit back. It's also welcome news for the purposes of our cap and defense stability.

    NOW is the time to start thinking about how to improve on the cheap. Should we move on from Dan Boyle, as infeasible as it may be, it's not inconceivable that we roll with Hunwick full time to keep the cap hit down. To that end, especially with some of the serious injuries suffered by our D, it would be a tremendous asset to have guys we could call upon to fill out the D corps when needed without costing out the ass.

    In my pipe dream, we'd see him and Skjei on a pairing together to start the season next year in Hartford, and eventually come up together later next season (or the year after) a la McD and Sauer. Obviously with the group we have it won't happen like that, but if Dylan can reestablish himself as a potential component of this team's future, it not only adds an element and insurance policy (on multiple levels, including protecting our goalie, throwing down when necessary and stepping up in case of injury) we're sorely lacking, it does so on a cost-effective basis.

    I daren't hope just yet, but if he's starting to develop again now that the injuries are behind him, we might have an unforeseen boon fall in to our laps.

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    I just hope he develops into something, here or elsewhere.

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    Same here. Whether it's here or not, I just want this kid to get a shot at showing he can do it at this level. He's never going to live down that pick, but that's not his fault. He didn't call his own name over Tarasenko's.
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    I cringe every time I see that we picked him over Tarasenko

    Next camp is going to be critical for him. He needs to make the team this year, or at least show enough to be the first call up. This was his first 100% healthy pro season, and defenseman, especially the Stay-at-home type, tend to need a few years before getting the call-up anway, so I think he still should be given some leeway. I really hope he can make an impact, and not elsewhere in the league. Here.
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    Sauer

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    IMO he's going to hang on as the #7 defenseman if only because he'll be cheap and more importantly has to go through waivers to be sent down. If the organization is high on him, and it seems that at least Beuk is, they'll want him available to the team. Even if its as a 7th, I'd be interested to see how he does in an extended look.

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    I wouldn't want him as a 7th. If that's the case I'd rather he stay in Hartford and actually play his top minutes instead of sitting in the rafters every night as the 7th up here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SaveByRichter35 View Post
    Sauer
    If only.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlairBettsBlocksEverything View Post
    I cringe every time I see that we picked him over Tarasenko

    Next camp is going to be critical for him. He needs to make the team this year, or at least show enough to be the first call up. This was his first 100% healthy pro season, and defenseman, especially the Stay-at-home type, tend to need a few years before getting the call-up anway, so I think he still should be given some leeway. I really hope he can make an impact, and not elsewhere in the league. Here.
    And Jaden Schwartz.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cash or Czech? View Post
    IMO he's going to hang on as the #7 defenseman if only because he'll be cheap and more importantly has to go through waivers to be sent down. If the organization is high on him, and it seems that at least Beuk is, they'll want him available to the team. Even if its as a 7th, I'd be interested to see how he does in an extended look.
    Beuk does seem high on him, but you also have to take articles like this with a grain of salt, because they're coming out of the Rangers' PR. Not directly, but when you interview a coach, he's never going to shit on a player he still coaches.

    Quote Originally Posted by SaveByRichter35 View Post
    I wouldn't want him as a 7th. If that's the case I'd rather he stay in Hartford and actually play his top minutes instead of sitting in the rafters every night as the 7th up here.
    He's already past, or reaching the point of being past "development". If 7th D is what he is, then 7th D is what he is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cash or Czech? View Post
    IMO he's going to hang on as the #7 defenseman if only because he'll be cheap and more importantly has to go through waivers to be sent down. If the organization is high on him, and it seems that at least Beuk is, they'll want him available to the team. Even if its as a 7th, I'd be interested to see how he does in an extended look.
    I trust very little what's said in the media. They could be pumping his tires in an attempt to move him. Remember Sather saying he tried to trade Grachev for 3 years, and no one wanted him? Yet the whole time he was being touted as the next Antropov. Grachev scored 2 goals this year in the KHL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rome 2.0 View Post
    He's already past, or reaching the point of being past "development". If 7th D is what he is, then 7th D is what he is.
    I get that but I am trying to give some benefit of the doubt(not sure why lol) that he's done better in his first full healthy season. But other than that I do agree with you.

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    I would be thrilled is he was ready to step into the lineup when Boyle leaves. Skjei and McIlrath coming in for Yandle and Boyle would save us a ton of money under the cap.

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    If nothing else, Beuk has been consistent in what he's saying about McIlrath.

    Beukeboom: He's playing the best hockey of his professional career. "He's been playing outstanding. He seems to really thrive in the playoff situations. He's playing very physical but at the same time is — knock on wood — he's staying out of the penalty box. He's been one of our most consistent penalty killer with whoever he goes out there with. He's playing a lot of minutes and he's strong and is as strong defensively as he's been as a pro."

    "The second-half of this season, he's just taken off. At Christmas, I think he was a minus 11 or 12, and he finished the year a plus-6. He's actually scored a couple big goals for us down the stretch. He's never been better."

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    Understand the pessimism regarding this guy but damn if he develops what a help he'd be to us. Not to mention just what we need on our blue line and something you'd pay a damn fortune for on the open market.

    not to mention he's a 1st rounder.

    go light a candle in church over the summer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlairBettsBlocksEverything View Post
    If only.
    I know, right?

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    If he pans out, even remotely, he'll make the perfect 6/7 defender. Maybe not on this team, but somewhere.

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    Just for hindsight Sauer was 23 when he became a full time NHL player, McIlrath just turned 23...... shows not over yet

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    Quote Originally Posted by DiJock94 View Post
    Just for hindsight Sauer was 23 when he became a full time NHL player, McIlrath just turned 23...... shows not over yet
    Yea, I never get why people want to bury McIlrath already.

    He's 23 years old and just had his first healthy season as a pro...which also happened to be his best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Future View Post
    Yea, I never get why people want to bury McIlrath already.

    He's 23 years old and just had his first healthy season as a pro...which also happened to be his best.
    Because Tarasenko is paying major dividends for the Blues and was picked after McIlrath. McIlrath was a bit of an "off the board" pick who was supposed to go closer to 15th-20th overall but the Rangers intentionally picked him at 10 over Tarasenko and Schwartz because they liked his upside, work ethic, etc. and felt Dallas and whomever else were picking right after them would take him before he could fall to the second round.

    It's not really a desire to bury him as much as it is being upset with not getting the gifted goal-scorer in Tarasenko that's compounded by the frustration of McIlrath not having made the big club yet (if ever).

    Sauer was a second-round pick, so he doesn't come with the same expectations as a top-10 pick.
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