25-Year-Old Defenseman – Detroit Red Wings
Dylan McIlrath Contract Information:
Signed a one-year contract with the Rangers in July of 2016 worth $800,000.
McIlrath was acquired by the Wings from the Panthers along with a third-round pick in exchange for Thomas Vanek on Wednesday, Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Dylan McIlrath.
McIlrath's career with the Rangers organization is seemingly at a crossroads heading into the fall. Former GM Glen Sather was widely criticized for using a first-round pick (10th overall in 2010) to select McIlrath, who registered career highs in goals (six), assists (11), and PIM (165) in his second season with AHL Hartford last season. However, McIlrath has several long-term commitments ahead of him on the Rangers' blue line depth chart, making his ascent to the NHL a difficult one. Sure, its plausible McIlrath makes the team due to injury or as the seventh defenseman to prevent the team from having to place him on waivers, but he's far from fantasy worthy at this time. The 23-year-old still has some growing to do and could subsequently find greener pastures in another NHL city, but he's unlikely to ever provide much notable fantasy value.
If you're looking for points from the blue line, look elsewhere as McIlrath's 17 points with AHL Hartford pale in comparison to his 165 penalty minutes in just 62 games played. Ever since McIlrath was taken 10th overall in the 2010 entry draft, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Manitoba native has been labeled the heir apparent to Jeff Bukeboom. With right-handed Swede Anton Stralman headed to Tampa Bay, McIlrath, who played in two games with the parent club last year, was considered to be a system replacement. The free-agent signing of Dan Boyle quickly softened those chances. At this point, McIlrath is certainly a viable option for the team's seventh defenseman, or still could end up in the top three pairs if the team decides to move Dan Boyle to the wing. Otherwise, plan for McIlrath to start the season in Hartford.
McIlrath, the Rangers' first round (10th overall) pick in the 2010 entry draft got his feet wet at the AHL level this past season, registering a plus-6 with five assists and 125 penalty minutes through 45 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2012-13. Obviously, the organization is logged jammed with defensemen at the NHL level, so unless the Rangers' need to beef up their defensive pairings, the 6'5, 215-pound Manitoba product is not likely to receive a call up. Although he showed good offensive vision with the Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL), should he come to the big league, keeper league owners should only consider the 21-year-old McIlrath's future services for penalty minutes and plus/minus ratings.
Known for his fighting ability and nicknamed, "The Undertaker," McIlrath was selected 10th overall in the 2010 entry draft. The 20-year-old was added to the Rangers' playoff roster last season, so it's very possible that he'll get a look with the big club this year. He'll more than likely spend some time with the Connecticut Whale of the AHL, but he's worth a look in deeper fantasy leagues that count penalty minutes.
McIlrath, who was the Rangers No. 1 draft choice in 2010, projects as a crease-clearing defensemen that every team needs. In offseason developmental camp, he impressed and will be given a long look in training camp. Unless he has a great camp and some other roster hopefuls fail to latch on, McIlrath is likely to spend next season in the minors.
Rangers brass had toughness on their minds when they selected McIlrath with the 10th pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Once this jarring defender becomes a bit more graceful on his feet, the Big Apple will feature a true enforcer in McIlrath. Keep an eye on him as he crushes opponents in his path to the majors.