Panthers welcome Dylan McIlrath as impact physical presence on defense – Sun Sentinel
Curiously, the former 10th overall draft pick (2010), known as a big-body bruiser, was deemed unsuitable for a Rangers up-tempo style of play similar to what the Panthers have emphasized in retooling their defense.
The Rangers cut ties Tuesday when they sent McIlrath to the Panthers for Steven Kampfer, another defenseman who found playing time elusive this season.
Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton told New York media, “I think it’s a style-of-play issue right now with the way we’re playing. We want to play a little more up-tempo, and that’s not Dylan’s game.”
But Dale Tallon, Panthers president of hockey operations, said Wednesday that McIlrath will bring a useful contrast to the speed-and-skill element of the defense.
“We’ve got a lot of that,” Tallon said. “You can’t have too much of one thing, so we’re trying to mix it up and make it so we’re a little more versatile and have a few more options.
“I thought it was necessary to add a little size and a little grit to our backend. … With the young team that we have, it’s important to have that, especially when you’re on the road against tough teams.”
The Panthers have lacked an intimidating, physical presence since trading Erik Gudbranson to Vancouver. They selected Gudbranson third overall in the same draft that McIlrath went to New York.
The 6-foot-5, 236-pound Winnipeg native didn’t arrive in time to practice Wednesday at the BB&T Center but was expected to participate in the morning skate prior to Thursday’s game against San Jose. There was no indication if he would make his Panthers debut in the game.
Before making the deal, Tallon