While it wouldn’t be a surprise if McIlrath gets claimed, for GM Jeff Gorton and head coach Alain Vigneault, it was a decision that couldn’t be put off any longer.
“Gorts and I and our staff had a long talk last night after the game, and we just felt that at this time, Dylan needed to play,” Vigneault said this morning. “We all appreciate him as a person, he’s done everything that has been expected of him, and more. But on our team right now, he’s our eighth defenseman, and keeping him here and not having him play and the money going against the cap…”
Vigneault added that Gorton “looked around” in search of a trade, but obviously no deal was made.
“Selfishly, I hope he clears waivers and goes to Hartford and plays,” said Vigneault. “But if somebody would pick him up and give him an opportunity, I’d be very happy for him.”
McIlrath, meanwhile, held himself accountable for the situation. The big blue-liner has appeared in just one game this season, and he only logged 9:14 in it.
“I’m never going to blame this on the coaches,” he said, per Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post. “This was all about my play and not earning a spot in the lineup.”