The New York Rangers are in a tough position when it comes to their defense. This tough situation, according to multiple reports, seems to be pointing the team towards trading their hulking, former first-round pick.
If you ever wondered what the best way to ruin a good situation was, you should probably invest in the New York Rangers handbook. According to reports by the New York Post and New York Daily News, the team is looking into trading defenseman Dylan McIlrath before the 5 p.m. roster deadline tomorrow night.
All offseason, we have talked about the Rangers making a move with their defenseman, this is not what we, or at least I, had in mind.
The Rangers current defensive situation is like this: Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Kevin Klein and Marc Staal are all locks, while McIlrath, Brady Skjei, Nick Holden and Adam Clendening fight for the final two starting spots and the one extra spot.
Nick Holden, will most likely earn a top-six-role since he is a veteran and is comfortable playing both sides. Alain Vigneault has liked what he has seen from Adam Clendening and for good reason. Clendening, the 22-year-old journeyman has exemplified a prowess for sound puck-moving ability. He has also looked very comfortable quarterbacking a powerplay during the preseason.
So by that logic, it comes down to McIlrath and Skjei.
I like Skjei, and obviously, due to his effortless skating ability, he fits very well in AV’s quick transition system. However, I think McIlrath has shown that he can skate pretty well too. His long arms allow for him to make plays with his stick in the defensive zone that many others can’t.
While Brady Skjei had a shaky preseason, and since he can still be sent down to Hartford without being exposed to waivers–unlike McIlrath–I think the way to go is sending Skjei to the minors.
So if the Rangers trade McIlrath, they will be making a big mistake.
Size can’t be taught, and McIlrath brings that into the lineup. McIlrath is a guy who, like I said, brings that much-needed size and physicality to the lineup while also being able to skate and use his unique size to his advantage. Also, I think he has an extremely underrated shot.
The Rangers have had plenty of guys in the past who were big dudes but didn’t know how to use that physicality to their advantage–Brian Boyle, and current Rangers Rick Nash and Kevin Hayes come to mind–so don’t take that for granted.
We all know that Girardi and Staal won’t be traded. They are as untradable as you can get in today’s NHL. So it’s unfortunate that the team will likely deal ‘Rath’ because of those two anchoring the blueline.
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Hell, I have been a Kevin Klein supporter since he arrived on Broadway, but I would rather trade him than trade McIlrath for a few reasons. Firstly, Klein’s trade value will probably never be as high as it is today. He has a cheap contract with some time left on it, plus he’s scored 9 goals in two straight seasons.
You could probably get a low 2nd-rounder to high 3rd-rounder for Klein on this market, maybe even more. With McIlrath, I don’t know what you are gonna be able to get.
McIlrath played only 34 games last season for the Rangers, which was a bad thing in the short-term as well as the long term for both parties, mainly because McIlrath’s trade value isn’t going to be too high since most teams haven’t seen him play enough. Would you really feel good about getting a fourth round pick for McIlrath? Because that’s likely the best you can get for him by himself.
There are a million things to take in account here for the Rangers, but I will say this right now and you can save this quote for the future and tell me if I am right or wrong, but mark my words; if the New York Rangers trade Dylan McIlrath, they will regret it.