Dylan McIlrath

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Getting healthier, Panthers send McIlrath and McCann to AHL

Panthers defenseman Dylan McIlrath has cleared waivers and been assigned to Florida’s AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Forward Paul Thompson also cleared waivers, but he remains on the NHL roster for now. Instead, 20-year-old forward Jared McCann has been sent down.

The Panthers beat the Senators, 6-5, last night to move to within two points of a wild-card spot. It was the second game back for d-man Alex Petrovic, whose return knocked McIlrath even further down the depth chart.

Florida is still without key forwards Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, though both have been skating and the latter’s return sounds imminent.

“I feel better every day,” Barkov said Monday, per the Sun-Sentinel. “I’m skating with the team and feel happy for that. It’s a lot more fun than skating by my own. I hope I could play soon.”

Florida’s next game is Friday at home to Anaheim.

Panthers place Dylan Mcilrath, Paul Thompson on waivers

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The Florida Panthers made a couple of roster moves on Tuesday morning by placing defenseman Dylan McIlrath and forward Paul Thompson on waivers.

Mcilrath, originally a first-round pick (No. 10 overall) by the New York Rangers back in 2010, was acquired by the Panthers in a trade for Steve Kampfer earlier this season. He has been limited to just five games with the Panthers since the trade, logging just 48 total minutes of ice time and scoring a single goal.

Known more for his toughness and physical play, he has also recorded 10 penalty minutes in his limited role this season. He is likely headed back to Springfield of the American Hockey League where he has one goal and one assist in six games this season. The decision to waive Mcilrath comes just after Alex Petrovic returned to the lineup last week following a lengthy absence due to injury.

Mcilrath has appeared in just one game for the Panthers since Dec. 15, playing 8:49 in a shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers back on Jan. 18.

Thompson, meanwhile, joined the Panthers organization this past offseason and has appeared in 21 games for the big club this season recording three assists in what has mostly been a fourth line role, logging just a little more than seven minutes of ice time per game when he has been in the lineup. The 28-year-old winger has spent much of the season in Springfield where he has 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in 20 games.

Panthers recall McIlrath from AHL — but will they play him?

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The Florida Panthers have recalled defenseman Dylan McIlrath from a conditioning stint in the AHL.

The question now is whether they’ll play him.

McIlrath has only appeared in four games for the Panthers since getting traded by the Rangers in November — and in three of those games, he logged less than 10 minutes of ice time.

On his conditioning assignment, the 24-year-old played six games for the Springfield Thunderbirds, scoring once with an assist and 13 PIM.

It seems unlikely that the Panthers would make any changes to their lineup after knocking off Columbus, 4-3, on Saturday. They start a four-game road trip tomorrow in Calgary.

McIlrath’s chances of playing may be limited due to the fact he’s a right shot and the Panthers’ back end already has three healthy right shots in Aaron Ekblad, Jason Demers, and Mark Pysyk.

Ekblad, Demers, and Pysyk have each played all 45 games this season. The leading candidate to be scratched is probably Jakub Kindl, a left shot.

So barring an injury, McIlrath may have to sit and wait some more. The Panthers have won four of their last six, and they’re not in a position to mess with success.

Alex Petrovic (ankle) is Florida’s only injured defenseman. Also a right shot, he could be ready to return in early February.

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.

Glass gunning for NHL return, either with Rangers ‘or someone else’

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Here’s a name to keep an eye on as the trade deadline draws closer:

Tanner Glass.

Glass, the 33-year-old veteran with 500 games of NHL experience, has been plying his trade with the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford this season, racking up five goals and seven points through 25 contests. But his story in Hartford goes beyond the numbers.

Head coach Ken Gernander — who’s raved about Glass’ character and dressing room presence — has utilized the former Dartmouth product in a way designed to keep his big-league skills sharp.

“We’re still hoping that he makes his return to the NHL and to do that he’s going to be a role player who finishes his checks, is a penalty killer, a reliable guy defensively to help his team late in the game protect a lead,” Gernander said, per the Hartford Courant. “And that’s how we like to use him here.

“We’re trying to do right by him by continuing to use him in a role that will give him the chance to show what he can offer an NHL team.”

It appears both parties are on the same page. Glass, who’s appeared in 60 Stanley Cup playoff games — including the ’11 Final with Vancouver — told the Courant his goal is to get back up with the Rangers, “or someone else.”

Waived just prior to the start of the regular season, Glass is in the last of a three-year, $4.35 million deal with a $1.45M cap hit, and that minimal financial impact could sway teams into inquiring. Specifically, teams that are looking to add some toughness. Glass has been a willing combatant throughout his career, and led the Rangers in fights in each of the last two seasons.

We’ve already seen a few teams make moves to harden up their lineups this season. Florida acquired d-man Dylan McIlrath from the Rangers for that exact reason and, on Thursday, the Devils gave tough guy Luke Gazdic his season debut after head coach John Hynes said they were “too easy to play against.”

Among the potential fits for Glass? Buffalo (he’s long been a favorite of head coach Dan Bylsma) or possibly Nashville, a team that has recent history of employing a veteran physical presence (Matt Hendricks, Paul Gaustad, Brian McGrattan, Rich Clune, etc.)