Dylan McIlrath, the Rangers first round selection in the 2010 NHL Draft, will visit doctors within the next several days to determine where exactly he is in his recovery following knee surgery more than two months ago. Should doctors give the OK, McIlrath would then be able to begin skating and take a significant step forward in preparing to play for the club's AHL affiliate, Connecticut Whale, this season.
"He's going to the doctor in the next few days and he's going to be looked at," explained Rangers Assistant General Manager Jeff Gorton. "We all hope it's the best possible scenario where (the knee) is healed the right way and the doctors greenlight him for the next part of the process."
The 20 year-old McIlrath suffered a dislocated kneecap during the Rangers Development Camp in late June and subsequently underwent surgery on the injured knee in early July.
"He had a procedure done, and the healing of the procedure has to go a certain way before he's greenlighted to extend his workouts---skating and that kind of thing," Gorton explained further. "We don't really know anything until he sees the doctor again in the next few days."
The 6-foot-5 defenseman is one of the Rangers top prospects. Last year with Moose Jaw in the WHL McIlrath totaled 23 points and 127 penalty minutes in 52 games. Over four seasons playing with Moose Jaw, McIlrath accumulated 527 penalty minutes while forging the reputation as a fierce, rugged, crease-clearing defenseman. He also was one of the most feared fighters in all of Major Junior hockey.
McIlrath played two regular-season games with the Connecticut Whale---racking up seven penalty minutes---at the end of the 2010-11 season; and last year he joined the Whale during the AHL playoffs, appearing in five games and accumulating nine penalty minutes.
"He's going to be a big rugged physical defenseman in the pro game," noted the head coach of the Whale, Ken Gernander. "But aside from being big, you have to be able to impose yourself and play with a bit of an edge or make things uncomfortable for your opponent, and I think given his character Dylan will be able to do those things. He's athletic and physical and mean, and he will make it hard to play against him."
The Whale will open up training camp on September 29th. McIlrath's fellow first rounders, Chris Kreider and JT Miller, be among the players taking part in Whale camp.
Share your thoughts below on the latest news regarding Dylan McIlrath's recovery.