McIlrath is expected to be a more consistent part of the Rangers' lineup in the aftermath of Kevin Klein's thumb injury, the New York Daily News reports. The No. 10 overall pick in 2010, McIlrath is a defensive defenseman with toughness in spades, but he's been a frequent healthy scratch here in his first full NHL campaign. A consistent spot in the lineup should yield fantasy owners plenty of PIM and hits, but the points will likely continue trickling in only at a slow pace.
McIlrath was plus-2 and netted his second of the season in Monday's 6-3 win over Buffalo. Initially credited to a screening J.T. Miller, the 23-year-old McIlrath showed some wheels, pinching in from the point deflecting the puck off Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. Playing for an injured Dan Boyle (rest) its a nice bonus for anyone rostering the Rangers seventh defenseman for tough guy categories, but don't expect it to come at a more frequent pace. McIlrath (plus-5) has two goals, three points with 42 penalty minutes through 20 games.
McIlrath was plus-1 with two penalty minutes and two shots on goal in a loss to Washington on Sunday. Filling in for Kevin Klein (thumb), McIlrath found himself dressing for the second time in three games. Not only was his presence on the penalty kill impressive but his willingness to block an Alex Ovechkin shot and subsequently clear the zone at a crucial moment. Despite earning his stripes one step at a time, McIlrath (two points, in 19 games) remains irrelevant in most fantasy categories not named penalty minutes.
McIlrath scored his first NHL goal and went plus-2 with two penalty minutes Tuesday in a 4-2 win over the Oilers. The goal was a beauty and a big one in the game at the time, as McIlrath wound up and let 'er rip from the left point, beating Anders Nilsson under the glove and giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead in the second period. McIlrath's mostly known for his toughness -- he's sitting on 31 hits and 26 PIM in limited ice time over 13 games -- but he sure did look good taking that shot. Still, we'll need to see more before buying into a sudden offensive evolution for the former No. 10 overall pick.
McIlrath logged six hits in a 4-1 win over Ottawa on Sunday. McIlrath is never guaranteed to dress as the team's blue line depth chart is packed tight. While the young defensemen has yet to notch his first NHL point through 12 career games, he's certainly capable of throwing the body around.
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