Panthers send McIlrath to minors for conditioning

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Dylan McIlrath, the former 10th overall pick Florida acquired from the Rangers in November, has been sent to the Panthers’ AHL affiliate on a conditioning loan, the club announced on Wednesday.

The decision comes after McIlrath had appeared in just four games since being acquired. His last came on Dec. 15, when he played sparingly (6:09 TOI) in a shootout loss to Winnipeg.

A big (6-foot-5, 236 pounds), physical defenseman, McIlrath came into the league high on promise but has failed to materialize, due in large part to his average skating ability and lack of offense.

There was hope within the Panthers organization he would add some needed snarl to the lineup, but neither head coach — Gerard Gallant or Tom Rowe — dressed McIlrath enough to make an impact.

Conditioning loans are of the two-week variety, so this will give McIlrath a chance to play some games. But it’s hard to see him jumping back into the Panthers lineup after that, especially if the club is still in the thick of the playoff chase.

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