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New York Rangers 2015-16 Report Cards: Defense

Brady Skjei

It’s not really fair to give Skjei a grade due to a very small sample size, but he did play in all five playoff games, so why not?

Skjei was thrown into the lineup after Ryan McDonagh injured his hand, and he showed some promise.

Skjei was light on his feet and wasn’t afraid to hop into the offensive side of play. He also tallied two assists in five playoff games.

Skjei was a (is a) young player who was forced into a position that he wasn’t really prepared for, so his often frantic play and blown coverage was to be expected.


At times, Skjei was the only Rangers defenseman who was willing and/or capable of moving opponents out of Henrik Lundqvist’s crease.

Well, I guess it was technically Antti Raanta’s crease for three of those five playoff games too, but that discussion is for another time…

For a rookie defenseman who was called up to a bleeding club in a high pressure situation, Skjei performed about as well as could be expected.

Grade: B

Dyan McIlrath

The former first round draft pick seemed like a lost cause following the 2014-15 season, but a determined McIlrath set his focus on changing that narrative this year.

However in only 34 games, McIlrath was awarded 64 penalty minutes, only two minutes less than Tanner Glass, who was first overall in PIM.

McIlrath shaped his reputation as a grinder and enforcer on the team, going toe-to-toe with anyone willing to drop the gloves.

As far as production goes, McIlrath tallied two goals and two assists in the regular season.

If McIlrath wants to fill the defensive enforcer roll effectively he will need to learn when to fight and when to let his game talk for itself.

Or perhaps that is his only game?

Alain Vigneault didn’t give McIlrath consistent ice time, and I’m curious to see what his true potential would be over the span of a full 82 game schedule.

Overall, McIlrath took a plethora of untimely penalties, many of which hurt his team.

While he demonstrated that he can be effective in specific situations, he needs to round his game out so that he be effective against any given team, and not just the physical match-ups.

Grade: C

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I've been a die hard Rangers and Giants fan for as long as I can remember. I enjoy sharing opinions, and hearing from fans that love their teams just as much as I do. Henrik Lundqvist makes all of us look like mere mortals. E-mail me at: [email protected]