Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Monster from Winnipeg

With h/t to Moose Jaw announcer James Gallo for his apt nickname for defenseman Dylan McIlrath.

I have a new feature up on the baggage smasher over at the New England Hockey Journal website here.

McIlrath is a bit of a polarizing figure. Some folks don't think he has enough upside at 15, and others say hey- why not?

Don't know what the Bruins intent is, and until we see who is on the board at 15 (assuming they even still own that pick on the 25th), there's no reason to jump to conclusions.

What we do know: the kid can really fight. He's gotten a lot better as a hockey player. And, because the Bruins took the time to fly him into Boston last week and give him the red carpet treatment complete with Sox at Fenway outing, they're obviously interested in him.

Where that takes us on draft day remains to be seen.


  1. I am just so confused about this. If you ask me about any OHL player i can make an argument for them. Not getting to see a guy like McIlrath play, makes it hard for me to form an opinion. So many people think he's the guy to grab at 15, and there are others that think he will be there at 32. As much as i'm trying, i just can't form an opinion myself.

  2. I know one of the B's scouts who said they had some kids they like in for more testing last Thursday and Friday. The Bruins have to to be serious about this kid with their 15th pick if they brought him in for more strength and conditioning testing right after the combine.

    Along with Mcilrath they also brought in Alexander Petrovic #29 on NHL CSB final rankings, Charlie Coyle #23 and Chris Wagner #136. On Friday they brought in Kevin Hayes #26 and Jeff Skinner #34. I have to believe that they are looking to take Mcilrath at 15 because he definitely won't be there when they pick at 32. He sounds like he is going to be a good tough D down the line a bit. They also must be thinking that one of the four: Petrovic, Coyle, Hayes or Skinner are still going to be there at #32. Unless they're looking at Coyle at #15 as well but I think that's a stretch based on his CSB final ranking. I don't think any of these kids will slip to the 45 position on day 2.

  3. PieMac, i can guaranteee Skinner won't be there at 32 either. The only way they will get him is to move up from 15.If they are looking at Skinner, it's for that purpose, or they think he may fall to 15. CS list is also NA skaters and doesn't include Europeans. Don't put to much stock into their rankings.

    Also, i didn't know they had brought Skinner in. I'm glad to see that. Thanks for mentioning it.

  4. I don't see why size and fighting abiltiy should be a reason to draft someone with the 15th overall pick, so I'd have to come down against this idea.

    Of course, 5 years ago I thought Milan Lucic at #50 was a blown pick, but he has obviously proven me wrong.

  5. I just don't see the B's taking a smaller forward like Skinner with that 15th pick after they take Seguin with the 2nd pick. They have to go after who ever they determine to be the best D man on the board with that 15th pick who I believe is Macilrath based on all the mock drafts that I've seen. Then the best player available with the 32nd pick. Skinner is only 5' 10" which means he is really 5' 9" or less. He is not a potential #15 pick for the B's.

  6. You're right, Pie Mac-- Skinner isn't a potential pick for the Bruins at 15 because he'll be off the board by then.

    Come on, Pie-- I assume you've been following the game for awhile and has noticed the way the draft paradigm has shifted a bit since the "new" anti-obstruction rules opened up the ice a bit. Size is not the only thing that matters with this kid, and we're talking about a 70-goal scorer here, a 65-goal man in midget before he went to Kitchener. Skinner can flat-out score, whether he's 5-6 or 6-5. Doesn't matter and I guarantee you that there is a team picking before 15 who recognizes that and will pluck him before Boston even has to make a decision.

    If he is on the board and they pass, then it had better be for one helluva prospect, because pure goal scorers like this one don't grow on trees. Don't let the vitals fool you-- he's got that extra special something that most players can only dream of having.

  7. Mike- somehow, I could predict your response.

    It isn't what McIlrath has done that will cause the Bruins to take him at 15. It's what they *think* he'll do.

    Now, if you read the piece, you'd see that it went way beyond the physical play and fighting- taking great pains to draw the sizeable leap in skill and production from year 1 to year 2 in the WHL. If the Bruins believe he's got more upside and will be even better, then that's the thinking they'll apply.

    Lucic did essentially the same thing...and believe me- they didn't pick him because he was tough and scored 9 goals in 2006. They picked him because he was tough and they believed he'd get upwards of 30 and be a force after his draft year.

    Same thinking applies to McIlrath, but I'm a little baffled at so many smart hockey folks I know just looking at the surface of what he brings and writing him off as a bad option at 15. I think he's made a pretty good case that the best is perhaps yet to come.

    It will, of course, also depend on who is there (who unexpectedly drops, I mean) at 15, but if Big Mac ends up being the pick at 15, I hope you'll take into account what I said before leaping off the Tobin bridge. ;)

  8. If McIlrath is really a player in the mold of Milan Lucic, then he's good value at 15. But I hope the Bruins are focused on bringing in the best player at 15 rather than trying to find the next Lucic. I'm a little skeptical just because I don't think Lucic-types are easy to find - the Bruins have drafted exactly one such player in the past 20 years or more.

    As for the Tobin, I won't be planning to jump no matter who they draft at 15... as long as they don't take anyone named Kendrick Perkins. :)

  9. Just to clarify Skinners height, he is listed as 5'10. I have talked to him half a dozen times at least this past season and face to face, we are eye to eye and i'm 5'11, so guessing he's more like 5'9" is just that, guessing. Most people stop growing at 18. But there are those that don't. My son was short growing up. Went as far as doing bone density tests and all. He turned 18 in Novemeber and since last summer he's gorwn 4 inches. He's now 6'1".

    I don't think Skinner will play in the NHL next year, but he does still have some opportunity for growth.

  10. Kirk have followed the game for many moons and the smaller scorers that produce in the NHL are few and very far between. With the option of a 5' 9" forward or a 6' 4" D that can shut him down, give me the D at 15, especially this year when you get that proven scorer at #2.

  11. I hear you, Pie- just think that Skinner has that special something that will make him successful in the NHL.

    Like I said- he won't be there at 15, so the only way they get him is to trade up. Could happen, but not likely.