The New York Rangers select defenseman Dylan McIlrath, a 6’2” 212-pounder out of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
McIlrath is a bruising defenseman who led the Western Hockey League in fighting majors with 18. TSN’s Bob McKenzie had McIlrath ranked 15th prior to the draft, so while it was a little bit of a surprise to see him move up to tenth, what was a bigger surprise was that American defenseman Cam Fowler and Brandon Gormley were still on the board. Fowler is much more of an offensive threat than McIlrath who’s nickname is “The Undertaker,” while Gromley is a more rounded athlete.
The real question, that only time will answer, is did the Ranger’s lack of physical defenseman out weigh their need for an offensive one?
Here’s the official release:
New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has selected defenseman Dylan McIlrath with the 10th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
“We feel very fortunate to be able to select Dylan and add a player of his caliber to our strong core of prospects,” stated Sather. “He brings size and a physical presence along with good mobility and outstanding character. We’ve watched him improve throughout the year and are looking forward to his continued development.”
McIlrath, 18, skated in 65 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season, registering seven goals and 17 assists for 24 points, along with 169 penalty minutes. He received Moose Jaw’s Most Improved Player Award for the second consecutive season, establishing career-highs in games played, goals, assists, points, penalty minutes, plus/minus rating (plus-20) and game-winning goals (two). McIlrath ranked second on Moose Jaw with a plus-20 rating, and tied for third among team defensemen in goals, assists and points. He also led the Warriors and ranked seventh in the league in penalty minutes.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba native was selected to participate in the 2010 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Top Prospects Game on January 20 as a member of Team Orr, and he finished second in the Hardest Shot event at the Skills Competition with a 91.8 mph shot. The second-year defenseman made a plus-42 improvement in plus/minus rating over the previous season. McIlrath finished the season strong, tallying 16 points (five goals and 11 assists) in 29 games after the New Year. He registered four multi-point performances during the season, including a career-high, three-point effort on February 15 at Portland (one goal and two assists). In addition, McIlrath registered one assist and 21 penalty minutes in seven playoff contests, making his WHL playoff debut on March 18 at Calgary and tallying his first career playoff point with an assist on March 23 vs. Calgary.
The 6-4, 212-pounder has appeared in 118 career WHL games over two seasons with Moose Jaw, registering eight goals and 20 assists for 28 points, along with 271 penalty minutes. McIlrath entered the 2010 NHL Entry Draft as the sixth-highest ranked defenseman and 17th overall among North American skaters in the final Central Scouting Rankings.
The selection marked the fourth time in the last six years the Rangers have chosen a defenseman in the first round. Two years ago, New York used their first selection (20th overall) to tab defenseman Michael Del Zotto, after selecting defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti with the 21st overall pick in 2006 and defenseman Marc Staal with the 12th overall selection in 2005.
MEANWHILE DOWN IN CHARLOTTE:
Charlotte Checkers COO Tera Black announced today that the team’s home opener for its inaugural American Hockey League season will take place on Friday, Oct. 15 at Time Warner Cable Arena. The team also unveiled its jersey designs and joint ticket packages with the Carolina Hurricanes.
The home opener will be the first ever AHL game played in Charlotte as the Checkers assume the role of Carolina’s top affiliate.
“October 15th will be a night Checkers fans won’t soon forget,” said Black. “We are looking forward to an unprecedented level of hockey as we unite enthusiasts of the sport from throughout the Carolinas.”
The team’s jersey designs have adopted the Hurricanes’ red, black, white and silver coloring along with matching jacquard bands around the waist. By virtue of the team’s third jersey (black), a new secondary logo was revealed. The mark combines signature characteristics of each team’s branding, including the bear mascot and hurricane warning flag. To see the designs, click here.
Finally, the Checkers also released today joint ticket packages with their NHL parent club, Carolina. The packages include five pre-determined Hurricanes Saturday home games and five or 15 Checkers games, starting at just $159. For details on the joint ticket packages, go to www.gocheckers.com/tickets.
Look for a brand new www.gocheckers.com website to be launched the first week of July. Season tickets for the Checkers’ inaugural 2010-11 AHL season are now on sale and 40-game packages start as low as $200. Ticket information can be obtained by calling 704-342-4-ICE or visiting www.gocheckers.com/AHL.
In draft news for Carolina, with their first round pick, Number seven overall, the Hurricanes selected center Jeff Skinner who ironically played for the Kitchener RANGERS of the OHL…