That’s Dylan McIlrath winning a fight (or so it would seem) last winter. The big defender is getting a lot of attention these days, no surprise considering his skill set. In the comments below there were a few posts wondering why McIlrath has such appeal to Oiler fans.
For my part, I think McIlrath fits an extreme need (outlined here) because the club doesn’t have an impact prospect in the pipeline (among the blue).
Peckham (tough, defense first, can fight) is the only defender in the top 8 on my prospect list, with Alex Plante (#9) and Jeff Petry (#10) in need of AHL development time before the Oilers can count on them. After that, it is Taylor Chorney (chaos squared) and Troy Hesketh (who is injured apparently). So there’s a need here, along the blue.
McIlrath won’t address the team’s need for a complete defender (Duncan Keith type) but he does give the team a quality prospect with an exceptional resume in his own zone. From this week’s Redline Report:
- Dylan McIlrath is a physically imposing monster at 6-4, 212 and easily the most feared fighter of any player in the 2010 draft. But McIlrath is not just a fighter; he’s a tower of strength in his own end and a punishing presence in front of the net who makes opposing forwards pay a steep price for every inch of real estate around the crease. His puckhandling and lateral agility are raw but have shown improvement.
Mike Remmerde is supplying fans with killer information on this year’s western kids, and he does a terrific job describing McIlrath’s ability.
- This is the kind of guy we’re talking about when we describe a d-man as “rugged”. Loves to hit and make opponents pay the price. Big open ice hitter. Uses the hip check effectively. Tremendous and eager fighter. Underrated first pass ability – just keeps it simple and gets it out of trouble with reliability. That’s all he’ll need to be an effective NHLer. Made some big strides defensively this season. Used to run around a lot looking for the big hit, but now is very effective and smart in the d-zone. Positioning is solid, but often has to give a bigger gap because he’s not the best skater. However, his huge reach makes up for that and allows him to be very disruptive with the poke/sweep checks. Makes opponents pay for coming into the crease.
Mr. Bugg over at HF has also published his top 45, with McIlrath in the middle of the first round. I’ll post Blue Bullet’s list (if he does one and I can find it) and I encourage you to drop by speeds blog this month to see what he’s talking about and of course YK Oil is unique and refreshing in all areas (including the draft). Pipeline is also a must-read, he gets some of the best quotes from scouts, players and managers. Copper and Blue is doing some of the most interesting draft stuff I’ve seen and Jonathan Willis is the man. David Staples has some excellent insight on the draft and Robin Brownlee has been doing this since some of you were in diapers.
This is a wonderful time to be a hockey fan. When I was a kid, CKSA (Lloydminster) would tell us about the #1 pick and what the Leafs, Canucks and Habs did, and the Saskatoon Star Phoenix would publish the first round and maybe have an item on a local boy drafted. After that, it was “wait until the July Hockey News” and driving the poor woman at Rexall Drugs in Maidstone crazy by dropping by every damn day until the thing arrived.
This is better. Much better.