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10-27-2011, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Trxjw View Post
I was actually the one who made the comment he was referring to, and while I should have qualified it as "most Rangers fans", I still stand by it. I see Fowler's upside as a guy who can be in the 45-55 point range, but who lacks the physicality and elite defensive awareness to be a true #1 d-man. I think his skating will ease the impact of many mistakes he might make, but his ability to read the play as it approaches him is nowhere near as good as his ability to read the play going the other way. Sergei Gonchar comes to mind.

McIlrath has the nasty streak that fans, and more importantly teammates, love to see on the ice. While I'm a major opponent of your prototypical goon, I'm very quickly becoming a vocal advocate for the kid and the development he's shown. He's at that point where his body is only starting to catch up to what his head wants to do, and you see some glimpses of potential there. Realistically, I see him as a potential Brooks Orpik. A guy that keeps it simple, but can amp up the physical game and really change the momentum for his team. If he can polish his offensive game, I think he could hit 35 points a couple times in his career, but I think the folks who hope he can be the next Shea Weber should temper their expectations.

What I think we can appreciate about both prospects is that each is good enough in one area of the game that they will almost certainly be decent NHL blue liners in one way or another.
If always felt like Orpik plus some more edge was a great comparator for McIlrath. Fowler, as Gonchar type is also a good, but not seen nearly enough of him to be sure of that.

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