With top-five ranked defenseman Cam Fowler still on the board, and top-ten Brandon Gormley, the Rangers chose to go past them and take fifteenth ranked physical defenseman Dylan McIlrath.
This move came as a complete shock, especially with two great defenseman available and goaltender Jack Campbell, who analyst Russ Cohen suggested the Rangers draft.
Needless to say, I was disappointed at the pick. Personally, I wanted Tarasenko, but that quickly faded with Fowler still on the board. But now, I am trying to find the light in this pick, and I guess when you consider that the Rangers already had his name stitched on the jersey, that means they really wanted him and targeted him over everyone else.
Fans and management alike swear by Gordie Clark’s brilliance at drafting, so I will trust him on this one. The Rangers have not have a tough-as-nails defenseman since Jeff Beukeboom; Purinton and Erik Reitz not included.
Myself and everyone else has been complaining about an abundance of softness on the Rangers, especially the back-end, and this move will fix that in a year or two.
If this is the direction the Rangers are taking, as in becoming more physical and able to stick up for themselves, then I like it. But as a player who earns his livelihood on fighting, if McIlrath takes one punch to the head in the wrong spot, it’s all over. That is my major concern.
My only beef with this pick is the fact the Rangers could have traded down, probably up to ten spots, and still would have been able to take him.
This is just a little of what he brings. He’ll be a fan favorite in a week.