The Rangers on Thursday placed defenseman Dylan McIlrath on waivers, as head coach Alain Vigneault said at this time, the player simply needs to play.
"We just felt at this time Dylan needed to play," Vigneault said after practice. "We all appreciate him as a person. He's done everything that's been expected of him and more but on our team right now he's our eighth defenseman."
If McIlrath is not claimed on waivers, he will be sent to Hartford (AHL).
McIlrath, the team's 2010 first-round pick, has appeared in just one of the team's first seven games this season. A year ago - his first full campaign in the NHL - the 24-year-old skated in 34 games, amassing two goals and two assists.
Vigneault, who he said selfishly hoped McIlrath would clear waivers, said it wasn't so much what McIlrath lacked, but was more what newcomers like Nick Holden and Adam Clendening brought that moved McIlrath down the depth chart.
"It was less about [McIlrath] and more about the other guys this year showing us they were a little bit better than he is at this time," Vigneault said. "It doesn't mean that for some reason he clears waivers, goes to Hartford, goes down there and plays well. Things change rapidly in this league."
At the end of the day, Vigneault said it's all about playing time for young player.
"What we feel after what he's gone through last year and this year, he needs to play," the coach said. "He's a young player that's still has got a hockey future in front of him and he needs to play some games and that's why we made this call."
Forward Pavel Buchnevich will return to the lineup Friday night against the Hurricanes after missing the last five games due to back spasms. He's skated with the team the last few days and will be taken off of injured reserve. He has one assist in two games this season.
The news isn't as positive for Josh Jooris, who had an MRI on his injured this morning. Vigneault said he's expected to miss three-to-four weeks.
Chris Kreider skated before practice today and Vigneault said that things are progressing with him as he deals with neck spasms. He won't travel with the team to Carolina and is doubtful to play Sunday when the Rangers host the Tampa Bay Lightning.