While meeting with reporters today, 2010 first round pick Dylan McIlrath said that he feels as if he has a “legitimate shot” of making the Rangers out of training camp next season.
McIlrath added that while his knee is still healing, from an injury he suffered last year in development camp, it is not an excuse.
In a chat with the Rangers website, Director of Player Personnel Gordie Clark said “I think he will certainly need the first half of the year to get right back into the AHL and playing every game and catching up. I don’t want him on the bench if he can’t play a regular shift in the NHL right now. He needs to play and play a lot of games in the first half and after Christmas we will see what happens.”
Clark added McIlrath’s knee is still healing and that the organization understood that when he was drafted they were going to have to be patient and careful about bringing him along as, in his role, he will be fighting and dealing with mature players and players who have trained and have experience in fighting.
Clark said that when McIlrath entered the Whale lineup he was challenged on nearly a nightly basis to fight and that after he “took care of business” the rest of the league decided to leave him alone.
On his season, Clark said that McIlrath really only played two months of hockey, following the month where he was fighting every game, and that his body is maturing and filling out.