Top Pro Defensive Prospect
Dylan McIlrath, D, Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL)
McIlrath has been in the Rangers system for three years, but it seems as though it has been longer. A tenth overall selection in 2010, McIlrath came with very high expectations, but was extremely raw when drafted. What he had was size and meanness, and the potential of being a great crease-clearing defenseman. The 2012-13 season was his first as a pro, and McIlrath had an up and down campaign, as there were times when he fought and looked fearsome, but more when he was totally invisible.
Early into the 2013-14 season, there is a noticeable difference. Paired with experienced veteran and team captain Aaron Johnson, McIlrath has played top-pairing minutes. His positioning has improved a great deal as has his heavy shot, which he is not afraid to use. When combined with his willingness to drop the gloves, McIlrath is beginning to look like the player the Rangers drafted him to be. He could get a look in New York later this season, but should be a regular in the NHL next season.