The New York Rangers knew what they were getting when they selected defenseman Dylan McIlrath with the 10th pick in the 2010 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Winnipeg native was one of the Western Hockey League's most intimidating players in his four seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors, piling up 551 penalty minutes in 232 WHL games.
McIlrath missed the beginning of his 2012-13 season with a knee injury. Then, less than 10 minutes into his first pro game with the Rangers' American Hockey League affiliate in Connecticut, McIlrath engaged in a scrap with Bridgeport's Brett Gallant, setting the tone for his campaign. He has since added some muscle to his prominent frame and honed his signature nastiness.
On the plus side, the key moment of McIlrath's initial pro season might have been being partnered with a perfect mentor: former Rangers defenseman Jeff Beukeboom, one of the team's assistant coaches.
"I've got a good situation with Beukeboom being the defensive coach. He's great with me," McIlrath told NHL.com. "We have a good relationship. That's the style he played and he knows firsthand what it takes to win."