Defending Big D continues our annual series of looking at top draft prospects that could possibly have their name called by the Dallas Stars at the 2010 Entry Draft. Want a shut down defenseman of the highest order that also wont back down from anything or one? You and the Stars may not have to look any farther than the man we feature next...
Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Born: April 20, 1992
Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Weight: 215 pounds
NHL Central Scouting: 17th North American Skaters
International Scouting Services: 31st
The Hockey News: 26th
McKeen's Hockey: 15th
Red Line Report: 22nd
Why the Stars would want him...
Dylan is all kinds of nasty on the blue line and easily was one of the most feared defensemen in WHL this past season and to have that kind of rep in what is generally thought of to be the roughest and most rugged of the three Canadian junior leagues, that's truly saying something. The Stars really don't have any kind of prospect right now that instills the kind of fear that McIlrath did at his level and for that reason alone it makes him a prime candidate for selection at 11. Is not afraid to go toe to toe with anyone on the ice.
Why the Stars would pass:
As expected with a man his size and *ahem* abilities, his skating and puck handling are sub-par. Truth be told this past year you could almost count on him to commit at least one turnover per game. Would it be wise for the Stars to draft someone who at this point seems a little one dimensional in his game? No player available in the top 10 to 20 may be as nasty to play against as Dylan, but almost all of them probably have better skating and puck handling skills. That's not to say he'll be totally inept in the offensive side of things, but anything more than 10 goals from him in a season at any level may be a huge surprise.
What they're saying:
"Big and mean, old-time typical NHL defenseman. He scares people not only with some frequent fights he might get in, but with 6-4, 212 lbs. straight ahead speed and offensive ability to match. Often, and in a very complimentary sense, makes puck carriers cut to the other side of the ice with his intimidating size."
The first thing that grabs your attention about Dylan McIlrath is his sheer size. At 6′5″ and 215 pounds, there aren't many players in the WHL that can outmatch him physically. McIlrath has showed a deft ability to drop the gloves, even trading blows with Red Deer bruiser Alex Petrovic in the Top Prospects game. A nice throwback to WHL defencemen of old, McIlrath is not the greatest skater in the world, but instead he makes up for his lack of acceleration by being positionally sound and using his massive frame to separate players from the puck.
His long reach can keep attackers at bay and his penchant for nastiness in his own end can help goaltenders to see the puck well.
And here is McIlrath doing what he does best on one of the biggest junior hockey stages, the 2010 Prospects Game:
Dylan McIlrath vs Alexander Petrovic (via JimKorn20)