Alain Vigneault hasn’t been happy with the Rangers defense this season and on Wednesday, he did something about it.
The Rangers recalled Dylan McIlrath from AHL Hartford, according to the New York Daily News. McIlrath, 21, was the club’s first-round pick (1oth overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and has appeared in 23 games for the Wolf Pack this season, scoring three goals and seven points.
The towering defenseman (6-foot-5, 215 pounds) spent all of last year in the AHL but felt he had “a legitimate shot” of making the NHL this season. A tough, physical player that isn’t afraid to fight, McIlrath was dropped from the Rangers just prior to the end of training camp.
It’s not surprising Vigneault and the Rangers brass are giving McIlrath a look. The head coach carved up his defense last week, saying the unit has been disappointing aside from Ryan McDonagh, the only blueliner than Vigneault felt had played beyond expectations this year.
The McIlrath recall also likely has to do with the health of Marc Staal, who has missed the last few games with a concussion. It’s worth noting this promotion comes a day after the Blueshirts brought Arron Asham back into the fold, as Vigneault said the lineup needed more grit and toughness.
Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.
The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.
Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.
Chances are Robin Lehner won’t look back fondly on his first game as a Sabre.
Midway through Buffalo’s season-opener against Ottawa, Lehner — facing his old team for the first time since getting traded this summer — suffered a lower-body injury, and was forced from the contest.
During the second intermission, the Sabres ruled out Lehner for the night.
It was a difficult turn of events for 24-year-old, who admitted he was keen to go up against the Sens. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his time in the Canadian capital; Lehner felt he never got a full opportunity to run with the No. 1 gig, and probably wasn’t thrilled GM Bryan Murray opted to keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond instead of him.
As for tonight’s injury, details are scarce. All that’s known is the ailment was serious enough for Lehner to leave and not return, forcing backup Chad Johnson into duty.
Prior to getting hurt, Lehner had stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.