In preparation for the NHL Draft on June 25, Die by the Blade will profile potential Buffalo Sabres Draft Picks. This feature will run daily with one or two players profiled each day.
Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
6'-4" 215 lbs.
Hometown: Winnipeg, MB
Date of Birth: April 20, 1992
Stats: 65 GP, 7 G, 17 A, 24 PTS 169 PIM
The Good - McIlrath is an old-school, physical, stay-at-home defenseman. Some of the older Sabres fans will remember physical defensemen Jim Schoenfeld and Jerry "King Kong" Korab. While the nickname "King Kong" has already been taken, McIlrath goes by "Big Mac Truck" while playing in Moose Jaw.
McIlrath is the type of physical player that Sabres fans love and appreciate. McIlrath will drop the gloves whenever he needs to and will not back down to anyone.
The Bad - Like most big guys, he needs to work on his hands and his skating. At this point he looks like a guy that can play physical but might not be able to keep up with the pace of the NHL. He has time to work on his skating and become a better all-around player.
What They Are Saying
"17-year-old Dylan Mcilrath’s large frame casts a shadow that many NHL scouts and opposing teams have taken notice of. His strong defense and punishing physical play has turned him into a fan favourite at the Civic Center."
Why The Sabres Might Pick Him
If he develops his game defensively, he would look really good alongside Tyler Myers. The Sabres have been known as a team with big soft defensemen in recent years and McIlrath would be evidence that things are going to change. Just look at how important Hal Gill was for the Canadiens in the playoffs, this guy could be that player in five or six years.
Why The Sabres Might Pass on Him
McIlrath is sort of a wild card in this draft. I have seen him selected as early as number 12 in some mock drafts while others have him being taken 30th. McIlrath is a tough but he is ultimately a project player. The Sabres brass has been questioned for their poor first round choices and a project might not happen in this draft.