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10-27-2011, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Trxjw View Post
I'm obviously not a Ducks fan, so by no means am I claiming to have seen enough of him to be an expert, but in the 20 or so games I have seen, I just haven't been impressed with his defensive game. I also think the real issue is that people continue to compare the two players based on what Fowler has done thus far at the NHL level. The problem is that it's a foolish way to do so.

I understand the BPA mentality, but that's assuming that Fowler was indeed the best player available in the eyes of the Rangers. Every year we see people slide up and down the draft board and people coming out of the woodwork claiming team X made a huge mistake passing on them. Rangers fans were livid when we passed on Petrov to take some kid out of Minnesota named Stepan. Same can be said with Kreider over Schroeder in 2009.

It's not about immediate results, and one season cannot serve as your guiding projection for a players development. How many kids stormed into the league only to fizzle out or plateau only a few years later? We cannot truly even begin to compare the two until they're, at the very least, playing against the same level of competition. I can see the value in Fowler, but I just happen to believe that McIlrath has more upside than he's often given credit for.
If you get the opportunity, see if you can catch some Anaheim games and focus on his play. He's made big strides defensively. Over the off-season he got stronger, and is more capable of handling play along the boards. On top of that, he's much more assertive defensively. Last season he was a little timid in his own end, as I'm sure you noticed. He can flat out take control of the play at times, and he's constantly getting Anaheim out of trouble. I can see how OccupySheen sees a bit of Niedermayer in him. It's the same thing he used to do. No space, team on its heels, and he just says enough is enough.

You're absolutely right. The Rangers might not have seen Fowler as the best player available. That was an assumption on my part. Looking at the players available when New York picked, it just looked like there were more talented and better players available at that pick. Fowler just being one of them. Of course, it's entirely possible that the scouts projected McIlrath would become the best player available, with some work.

I'm definitely not using one season to judge McIlrath. It's way too soon to judge him. Defensemen usually take longer to develop as it is, and a big physical guy like him can take even longer, because he needs to physically mature to be effective in the NHL. You can't really be surprised that people compare McIlrath to Fowler at this point though. He was considered a bit of a questionable pick, and Fowler came in and was immediately an impact player for his team. Is it unfair to McIlrath? Absolutely. But he'll make it into the NHL, and people will see that he's a good player for the Rangers.

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