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Red Wings swap Sulak for McIlrath

McIlrath has appeared in 43 NHL games since 2013-14

by Kyle Kujawa / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings today recalled defenseman Dylan McIlrath from the American Hockey League's Grand Rapids Griffins under emergency conditions and assigned defenseman Libor Sulak to the Griffins.

McIlrath, 26, is a veteran of 350 AHL games, totaling 73 points (21-52-73), a plus-27 rating and 756 penalty minutes with the Connecticut Whale, Hartford Wolf Pack, Springfield Thunderbirds and Griffins since 2010-11. 

In 49 games for Grand Rapids this season, McIlrath has nine points (1-8-9) and ranks among team leaders with a plus-12 rating (T3rd) and 94 penalty minutes (1st). The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native was originally acquired by Detroit from Florida on March 1, 2017 along with a third-round draft pick in exchange for Thomas Vanek and has totaled 30 points (8-22-30) and 255 penalty minutes in 146 games with the Griffins since joining the organization. He was also a member of the team's 2017 Calder Cup championship team and has notched seven points (0-7-7), a plus-12 rating and 61 penalty minutes in 44 career AHL playoff games.

A former first-round pick (10th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers, McIlrath has totaled five points (3-2-5) and 94 penalty minutes in 43 career NHL games between New York (2013-17) and Florida (2016-17). Prior to turning professional, McIlrath skated in 232 Western Hockey League games for the Moose Jaw Warriors, posting 74 points (16-58-74) and 551 penalty minutes from 2008-12, adding seven assists and 48 penalty minutes in 27 postseason contests. 

Sulak was recalled by Detroit on Wednesday but has been sidelined for two games due to illness. The 25-year-old made the Red Wings out of training camp and was one of five players to make his NHL debut on Oct. 4 versus Columbus. He skated in six games for Detroit, logging six penalty minutes and averaging 19:23 time on ice. Since joining the Griffins, Sulak has recorded 12 points (4-8-12), 32 penalty minutes and 80 shots in goal in 54 games. The 6-foot-2, 207-pound blueliner previously debuted for the Griffins at the end of the 2017-18 campaign, notching two assists in two games, following a full season in the Finnish SM-Liiga, in which he led the Lahti Pelicans' defensemen with 32 points (9-23-32) in 42 games and led the league with 307 shots on goal. 

Signed as a free agent by Detroit on May 24, 2017, Sulak spent two seasons (2015-17) playing for Orli Znojmo, a Czech team that competes in the Erste Bank Eishockey Liga, the top professional league in Austria, where he totaled 46 points (16-30-46) and a plus-19 rating in 106 games. During the 2016-17 season, Sulak placed fourth on the team with 28 points (10-18-28) and a team-best plus-19 rating, following up his 2015-16 season in which he was named the league's rookie of the year after recording 18 points (6-12-18) in 62 games. He also has professional experience in his home country, registering four points (2-2-4) in 32 games in 2013-14 for Pirati Chomutov in the top Czech league and adding 11 points (4-7-11) for SK Kadan in 39 games between 2012-15 in the Czech Republic's second-tier league. The Pelhrimov, Czech Republic, native represented his country at both the 2017 and 2018 IIHF World Championships, in addition to the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship and the 2012 IIHF World Under-18 Championship. 

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