Secretly I hoped McIlrath would go down to Hartford, regain his confidence and then be re-called by the Rangers later this season. Inside I knew the likelihood of that was slim. Now it’s impossible.
Am I surprised? No, and no one should be. We’ve all said in the past that McIlrath doesn’t fit in Vigneault’s system. Now that the teams motto is speed, speed and more speed, he definitely does not fit. Gorton confirmed as much when speaking to the media after the trade. So now he gets a chance in another organization.
My initial thoughts on move:
I wouldn’t be surprised if McIlrath asked for a trade. He saw the same writing on the wall as the rest of us.
I have no idea why the Rangers brought back Steven Kampfer (who was signed on July 1, 2014 and traded before the 2014-15 season officially started) but I don’t expect to ever see him in New York unless all seven of the teams’ current defenseman are on IR at the same time. My guess is the organization wanted a veteran player to help the dreadful Wolf Pack (3-6-1 in their first 10 games).
Somehow the Rangers also received a conditional 7th round pick in a trade that involved two players who recently went unclaimed on waivers. (The Rangers only get the pick if McIlrath plays 30 games this year. Not sure Florida’s defense situation but I’m going to guess Rangers won’t get that pick.) Obviously I wish they got higher for McIlrath but the organization did a good job of ruining his value so we should be glad they got that.
Shortly after the trade, Gorton spoke to the media and said exactly what all of us have been saying – that Dylan deserves a chance to play. For whatever reason, he wasn’t going to get that in New York. It also doesn’t help that he basically had to beat out Staal and Girardi for a spot. Love them or hate them, they both had good camps so there was nothing he could do. (I’m not sure what the Rangers would have done if he outplayed them but since he didn’t, they didn’t have to worry about that.)
In the end, there’s nothing left to say. We can argue if he was ever really given a chance but at the end of the day, there were always six defensemen better than him. Hopefully the change of scenery helps him take that next step. And if he does get a chance to play, maybe he can rekindle the chemistry he had with Keith Yandle last year.
Good luck in Florida, Dylan!
(Photo: Melissa Andus)