The New York Rangers are looking to become tougher to play against. In order to do that they must play physical. The Rangers took a step towards making that happen on Wednesday by calling up young defenseman Dylan Mcllrath. He will most likely debut on Thursday night when the Rangers take on the Columbus Blue Jackets.
McIlrath has yet to play a game in the NHL, but there are no real secrets about him when he is on the ice. He is not the best skater nor does he have a lot of offensive ability, but he is big and he is willing to throw his weight around. He is a 6-foot-5 and weighs 220 pounds. He was drafted tenth overall by the Rangers in 2010.
In the AHL this season McIlrath has three goals and four assists for a total of seven points. But like I have said his job is to play physical, not score. In 24 games this season he has 115 penalty minutes. He will most likely go into the Rangers lineup for Michael Del Zotto or Justin Falk.
The Rangers need to do a better job being physical, especially in their own zone. In last night’s game against the Nashville Predators, goalie Henrik Lundqvist was run two or three times with no response. That is unacceptable and is a sign of a soft hockey team. The Rangers have little grit on this team with their toughest player being the undersized Derek Dorsett.
McIlrath isn’t a big time move by Alain Vigneault, but it addresses one of the needs of this team. The Rangers are going to get a physical player who will be willing to drop the gloves and bring some much needed energy.