With the 10th pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, the Rangers selected Moose Jaw Warrior's defenseman, Dylan McIlrath, shocking mostly everybody. At that time, McIlrath was known as a bruiser, but also a BIG project, so what has he done since then to justify the pick?
First, we will look at what he was known for: toughness. He has only had three fights this year, but two of them just make you go, "Wow."
Those are two very big, very tough opponents he has there, so these are no fights to laugh at. For someone who is so young, he already has great ability with both hands, and as seen in the video against Cody Beach, he knows how to take a shot too.
It will be entertaining to watch him fight in the NHL at the very least. And in listening to the announcers, you get the sense he understands "when to fight."
Now, onto his offensive game.
Last year he posted seven goals, 17 assists, 24 points, plus-20 and 169 PIM for Moose Jaw. This year he has two goals, five assists, seven points, plus-one and 33 PIM in 16 games. That puts him on pace for eight goals, 20 assists, 28 points and 134 PIM. Only a slight improvement over last year.
If you really look at his stats, however, you can break his year down into two separate seasons:
Before Oct. 12: Eight games—No goals, no assists, no points, minus-nine and 18 PIM.
After Oct. 12: Eight games—Two goals, five assists, seven points, plus-10 and 15 PIM.
The difference in results is just staggering. It was as if overnight something in his head clicked and he started realizing his potential.
While looking at the performance so far you have to be pretty pleased if this new trend continues. It is very possible it took him some time to settle down and get readjusted to the WHL after his time in Traverse City.