The New York Rangers have locked in their opening night roster and for the first time in his professional career, Dylan McIlrath is on it.
McIlrath, the 10th overall pick in 2010, has made the Rangers blueline ahead of Swiss veteran Raphael Diaz, who was placed on waivers. New York also waived forward Jayson Megna and, should both he and Diaz clear, they’ll be dispatched to AHL Hartford.
The McIlrath situation was monitored far more closely this preseason than in the past. Now 23 years old, he would’ve required waivers for a trip back to the American League, and it was widely speculated teams were ready and waiting to pluck him.
At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, McIlrath has the physical tools to provide some snarl on defense, and will probably be one of the Blueshirts’ most active fighters this year. He’s scrapped 39 times over his last three seasons with Hartford.
One final note: Megna’s departure means the Rangers will keep another youngster that was waiver-eligible — Oscar Lindberg — as well as veteran tough guy Tanner Glass, who was on the roster bubble.