The New York Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 last night in the Blueshirts’ 2nd exhibition game in as many nights, evening their preseason record to 1-1. While there were some positives during last night’s game, there was unfortunately one glaring negative. This negative was the play of young defenseman Dylan McIlrath.
A refresher in case anyone forgot, McIlrath was the 10th overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft and so far has yet to play in a single NHL game, and after last night he won’t be any time soon. Now the argument is that defenseman take a longer time to develop, so McIlrath being 21 years of age and not in the NHL yet is normal. It is true that defensemen just naturally take longer to develop because of the difficulty of the position, but being a 1st round pick like McIlrath, I think you would have hoped, as both a fan and a front office member of the Rangers, that he would have cracked the team’s starting lineup by now; especially since Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks, who was picked two spots after McIlrath, has been in the league since he was 19 and is now entering into his fourth NHL season.
The Rangers’ 2nd preseason game consisted of many notables. Jesper Fast, Oscar Lindberg, Cam Talbot, and even Andrew Yogan were all positively noticeable against the Flyers. Whether it was having a strong nose for the puck, good shooting and skating ability, hustle, and even making some key saves like in Talbot’s case, all of those young players shined in one way or another last night. McIlrath, on the other hand, not so much.
McIlrath’s game last night was just dreadful, even though he did happen to record one assist. He was out of position most of the night, pinched when he shouldn’t have pinched which led to odd man rushes, and had a few giveaways which ended up in the back of the Rangers’ net twice. So not one but both of the Flyers’ two goals last night were scored on a direct result of McIlrath’s misplays out their on the ice.
That’s definitely not the way you want to start the preseason if you are McIlrath.