Dylan McIlrath, the polarizing Rangers‘ 2010 1st-round pick, was placed on waivers on Thursday afternoon. With no takers in the ensuing 24 hours, McIlrath will remain in the Rangers system, now reporting the Rangers‘ AHL affiliate in Hartford.
McIlrath, 24, has been the subject of much discussion, despite only playing 38 games with the Rangers since his 2010 selection. Going by the nickname of “The Undertaker”, McIlrath has served as one of the few survivors of the NHL’s fighting culture. In portions of three seasons with Hartford, McIlrath has gone over the century mark in penalty minutes, mainly via fighting majors, including match 165 tallies over the past two AHL seasons.
Rumors have persisted that the Rangers have contacted several teams about a trade involving McIlrath, who has played one game this season, but the team again found no takers.
Adding to some of the consternation behind McIlrath is the fact he went 10th overall in the 2010 Draft. Among the players selected after McIlrath were Anaheim’s Cam Fowler (12th), St Louis’s Jayden Schwartz (14th) and Vladimir Tarasenko (16th), and Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov (26th).
While some Rangers fans believe McIlrath’s style is part of a bygone generation, others believe he can be the type of enforcer and energizer the Rangers have lacked for several seasons. Perhaps McIlrath’s most memorable New York moment came last season on Valentine’s Day, where he started a Madison Square Garden tilt by going after Wayne Simmonds, avenging Simmonds’s cheap shot hot on Ryan McDonagh eight days prior. The Rangers won the game 3-1.
McIlrath, a Winnipeg native, has tallied 2 goals and 2 assists in his career, all coming last season. His first NHL goal came on December 15 in a 4-2 win over Edmonton. McIlrath also partook in the Rangers’ lone playoff win last season, tallying a shot on goal and a positive plus/minus in the 4-2 win over eventual champion Pittsburgh in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490