2008-09: In his WHL rookie season, Dylan McIlrath, a third round pick of the Moose Jaw Warriors at the 2007 WHL Bantam Draft, played in 53 games for the Warriors. He scored 1 goals and added 3 assists for 4 points while piling up 102 penalty minutes. McIlrath was named the Warriors Most Improved Player.
2009-10: McIlrath played in 65 games for the Warriors, scoring 7 goals and adding 17 assists for 24 points. He posted a +20 rating for the season while amassing 169 penalty minutes. In 7 playoff games for the Warriors, McIlrath notched 1 assist. He played for Team Orr at the 2010 CHL Top Prospects Game, getting into a spirited battle with Team Cherry’s Alexander Petrovic.
2010-11: McIlrath made his pro hockey debut, appearing in two games with AHL Connecticut following his WHL campaign with Moose Jaw. In two AHL contests he was scoreless and -1 with 7 PMs. In WHL play, McIlrath was once again one of the tougher defensemen for the Warriors. He was second to heavyweight Cody Beach (STL) with 153 PMs on a Moose Jaw club that finished second in the East Division. McIlrath, primarily a shut-down defender, scored 5 goals with 18 assists and was an even plus/minus in 62 games. McIlrath was scoreless and an even plus/minus in six playoff games for Moose Jaw with 15 PMs. McIlrath signed an entry-level contract with the Rangers in March, 2011.
2011-12: McIlrath returned to Moose Jaw for a fourth junior season after impressive New York Rangers coaches and staff with his play at the Traverse City rookie tournament and in the main camp. He joined Connecticut for the AHL playoffs – skating in five games and finishing minus-one with 9 penalty minutes as the Whale reached the second round. McIlrath’s calling card with Moose Jaw was his physical play – though he also had 3 goals and had a career-high 20 assists. He skated in 52 games for the Warriors drawing a pair of suspensions that kept him out of eleven games and was second on Moose Jaw with 127 penalty minutes. The Warriors reached the Eastern Conference finals after winning the East Division in the regular season and in 14 playoff games McIlrath had 6 assists and was plus-three with 12 penalty minutes.
2012-13: McIlrath’s rookie season with Rangers AHL affiliate Connecticut was delayed until the end of December due to a serious knee injury suffered in the summer but it took little time for him to make his presence felt. The 20-year-old unloaded a big hit on Bridgeport’s Marc Cantin (which resulted in a two-game suspension) and had his first AHL fight with Sound Tigers’ heavyweight Brett Gallant – both in the first period of his first game. In 45 games for the Whale he had 5 assists and was +7 and finished third on the team with 125 penalty minutes. Connecticut missed the AHL playoffs by two points despite finishing second in the Northeast Division.
2013-14: Mcilrath made his NHL debut in two December games with the Rangers and skated for New York’s re-christened AHL affiliate the Hartford Wolfpack in his second pro season. He had no points and was -1 with 7 penalty minutes, averaging seven minutes of ice time, in his two-game NHL stint. McIlrath led the Wolfpack with 165 penalty minutes and was +2 with 6 goals and 11 assists in 62 games. Hartford missed the AHL playoffs, finishing third in the Northeast Division.
2014-15: McIlrath appeared in one game with the Rangers in November and led AHL affiliate Hartford in penalty minutes for the second straight season. He had no points with 9 penalty minutes in eight minutes of action in a game against St. Louis. McIlrath had 165 penalty minutes and was +5 with 6 goals and 11 assists in 73 regular season games for the Wolfpack. Hartford finished first in the Northeast Division and reached the Eastern Conference finals. McIlrath was +2 with 2 assists and 23 penalty minutes in 15 playoff games. The Rangers re-signed McIlrath to a one-year contract as a restricted free agent in July 2015.
2015-16: McIlrath spent his fourth pro season with the New York Rangers — appearing in 34 regular season games as an extra defenseman and dealing with a knee injury in March. He scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was +7 with 64 penalty minutes, averaging 14 minutes of ice time.
McIlrath is a nasty, in-your-face defenseman who won’t back down and can clear the crease for his netminder. He is not afraid to fight or just intimidate, McIlrath has a good shot and his puck distribution has been improving but he needs to improve his skating and defensive positioning.
McIlrath spent the 2015-16 season with the New York Rangers, seeing lower pairing minutes when in the lineup and appearing in 34 of 72 games in his first NHL season. Envisioned as a Scott Stevens-type shutdown defenseman when he was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft, McIlrath is a liability at times against skilled, mobile forwards. He appears headed towards a career as more of physical intimidating third-pairing defenseman.