Today the Red Wings traded Tomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers for what appears to be a conditional third round pick in the 2017 draft and defenseman Dylan McIlrath. So who exactly is Dylan McIlrath?
Drafted 10th overall in the 2010 draft, Dylan McIlrath is a 6’5”, 220lb right-handed defensemen known mainly for his physical presence along the blue line. He is in the last year of his current contract with an $800,000 cap hit and will become an unrestricted free agent after this season. Here are his career stats per Hockey Reference
Early on fans are calling him “the right-handed Jonathan Ericsson”, mainly because of their similarities in size and nothing to write home about offensive skills. The biggest difference is that, while Ericsson has the size, McIlrath is much more willing to use it to do things like clear out players from in front of the crease. He is also not afraid of dropping the gloves if needed and can hold his own with some pretty tough customers
He is also willing and able to stick up for his teammates when needed
On top of his physical presence, he does have some offensive ability, centered mainly around a pretty good shot from the point.
Unfortunately, where he is a lot like Ericsson is that he is not a very good skater and leaves something to be desired for sure.
The Predicted Fit
It sounds like Dylan will begin his Red Wings career where all defensemen not named Dan DeKeyser begin, in Grand Rapids.
I am mostly meh on McIlrath right now, probably at least in part because I thought the Wings could have gotten more for Vanek than they did. I appreciate his physicality on the blue line (something the Red Wings have missed along the blue line). And while he is certainly not going to light up the score sheet I do think the potential is there for more of an offensive presence. With the Wings deciding to start him off in Grand Rapids instead of with the big club it shows that even they believe he needs some more time to develop.