Monday, August 29, 2011

McIlrath The Top New York Rangers Prospect?

With the season approaching there are a lot of rankings going around with respect to the New York Rangers prospects.  On Sunday, Jess Rubenstein at The Prospect Park gives his rankings of the future Rangers which uses some different criteria than many of the other rankings lists out there.   For Jess the main criteria are character, drive and talent as a combination where many focus on talent more than the rest.

Admitting any bias up front, the leader in his rankings was 2010 first round pick Dylan McIlrath.  Here is the reasoning Jess gave…
1-Dylan McIlrath- I put him here because every year since Jeff Beukeboom was forced to retire, I have called for a defensive stopper. Here he is and Jeff Beukeboom would give his approval.

How can you not like a player who his mere presence forces teams to change how they attack. Watched Medicine Hat refuse to go down his side of the ice after 2 clean body checks.

Do not even think you can touch a McIlrath teammate as he will be on you in a second. Have watched teams think twice about taking the body when McIlrath was out there.

And then there is the gentle giant giving up his Friday night so he can read to first graders. Then how can you not like a guy who every time he drops the gloves is called one of the toughest in the WHL.

And we saved the best for last as since the middle of last season, McIlrath as been working on his shot. It is a heavy almost dangerous shot that is going to either create rebounds or injure anyone trying to block his shot.

They will try once to block it then will get out of the way.
If the improvements that McIlrath showed during the prospect camp in June continue, then he will certainly be in the discussion for the Rangers top prospect.  McIlrath does have the potential to bring the Rangers something they have not had in their lineup since Beukeboom, but I am not sure that is enough to warrant him being the at the head of the list right now.    The question about McIlrath since he was drafted was whether he could be more than that imposing presence that could drop the gloves and defend teammates.  He is answering those questions with by playing a smarter game and developing his shot from the point.  However, at this point I would not put him at the top, and put Tim Erixon there instead because of his potential as a two-way defender and how close he is to the NHL right now. 

Interestingly enough Rubenstein left both Tim Erixon and 2011 first round pick J.T. Miller off his list.  To see who else made the cut and the reasoning behind their places be sure to check out Jess’ full write up over at The Prospect Park.  This list exhibits the beauty of the ranking process because each had their own opinions and criteria for what will allow a prospect to transition through the ranks and make it in the NHL.  There are few if any that I respect for their opinions more than Jess Rubenstein so agree or disagree, take note of what he is passing along.