Here’s the one I want

Dylan McIlrath, aka The Freight Train from Winnipeg, aka The Undertaker.

He’s 6’5″ and weighs 215. He had 169 PiM and was on the winning end of many fights in the world’s toughest junior league.

Only 18, but older players in the WHL were highly averse to dropping the gloves with McIlrath.

And he’s got a rocket from the point.

We’re not talking about the second coming of Larry Robinson. But given how soft the Canadiens play, I’d settle for the second coming of Lyle Odelein.

When was the last time the Canadiens had a bona-fide intimidator, à la Chris Pronger, on the back-end?

Mike Komisarek? Well, we thought so … till Milan Lucic disabused Komo and his fans of that notion.

Now, violence is the tool of the ignorant and I abhor all forms of Don Cherry hockey.

But players like Lucic, Chris Neil and Scott Hartnell kill the Canadiens.

And the division is becoming tough. Buffalo has Zack Kassian on the way, and we know what kind of team Brian Burke is building in Toronto.

It would be nice if a big, playmaking centre were available when the Canadiens draft with the 28th pick of the first round.

But I doubt it.

Most mock drafts have McIlrath going in the mid-20s. If I’m Pierre Gauthier, I look at ways to move up and get him.

Added bonus: Mitch Melnick loves anyone named Dylan.

 

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57 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    And I saw how the Habs braintrust shied away from smallish players last summer (Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri).  Or the promotion of Tom Pyatt to the fourth line, all 5’11″ and 187 lbs. of him, over the slightly bigger and more physical Ryan White.

    Skill and speed and grit can be found in a variety of packages.

  2. yathehabsrule says:

    Ha! The guy McIlrath pummeled in that vid is NHL.com’s Mike Morreale’s pick, for the Habs, in his mock draft

     

    ___________________________________________

    Ya! The Habs Rule! now on Twitter!

  3. Chris says:

    If we were awash in NHL calibre forwards, than sure.  But the reality is that the Habs don’t have a lot of depth.  O’Sullivan will be receiving approximately $1 million in salary if he’s bought out.  If he could be signed for $1.5-2 million because of this, it could be interesting.

    And sizes and weights are just numbers.  Dave Bolland is 6’0″, 181 lbs.  Adam Burish is 6’0″, 189 lbs.  Patrick Kane is 5’10″, 178 lbs.  John Madden is 5’11″, 190 lbs.  Kris Versteeg is 5’10″ and 182 lbs.

    By your reasoning, Montreal should also have no interest in Claude Giroux as he is only 5’11″, 172 lbs.  Kimmo Timonen couldn’t help the team as he is only 5’10″ and 194 lbs.

    O’Sullivan’s 5’11″, 190 lbs. isn’t so bad if he can play effectively.  If there were some bigger forwards that belong on the top 2 or 3 lines available, then sure….we should go for those guys.  But the FA market this summer is terrible and we have no top-6 calibre forwards coming up through the farm system for at least two seasons.  A guy like O’Sullivan could compete with Pouliot for the other top-6 winger slot, with the loser of that battle serving as a decent third line player.

    It would also free Maxim Lapierre up to do what he is best at, playing as a fourth line centre as opposed to a third line winger.

    I’m not saying O’Sullivan is a guaranteed success…if he was, an offence-deficient Oilers team wouldn’t be giving up on him.  But he is an intriguing player that, if he could be signed cheaply, could add some much needed depth to the Habs roster.  Depth killed the Habs in the playoffs this year against the much deeper Flyers.

  4. aemarchand11 says:

    Trade Sergei and our 1st and try to move up to 23-24 and We may be able to grab him… It would be nice to have that kind of Figure on the blue line. Kind of what we thought Komisarek was becoming.

    -Halak it alot because the Price is right-

  5. Chorske says:

    unfortunately, I must agree

  6. mbplekfan says:

    Wrong side of 6″ and under 200 lbs.

    No interest from the habs.

  7. Chris says:

    Interesting…the Oilers are exploring the possibility of buying out Ethan Moreau, Patrick O’Sullivan and Robert Nilsson. 

    Patrick O’Sullivan is an intriguing player.  He’s still not all that old at 25 years old, and put up 22 goals and 53 points in 2007-08 with Los Angeles, 16 goals and 43 points in 2008-09 with Los Angeles/Edmonton and fell to a terrible 11 goals and 34 points in 2009-10 with Edmonton.

    This is a kid who was highly regarded for his skill and point production in junior hockey, but who had some very public personal issues surrounding an abusive father (he pressed charges and filed a restraining order against his father while playing in the OHL).  Like Steve Downie, he’s carried around a bad reputation throughout his career, but I wonder if he could thrive in a proper environment.

    He scored throughout his junior career and excelled in the AHL before putting up nice numbers for his age during his final full season in Los Angeles.  Failing to meet expectations on an Oilers team that was significantly short of talent might be a mistake when it comes to O’Sullivan…he’s got speed, he knows how to score and he had some grit to his game when I saw him in the OHL.  Might be worth taking a flyer on him if the price is right.

  8. longtimehabsfan says:

    Let’s get the big galoot!!

  9. Kooch7800 says:

    I know we can’t fit it under the cap but how sweet would it be to add Volchenkov.

  10. Kooch7800 says:

    He is exactly what MTl needs.  We are waaaaaaaayyyyyy to soft

  11. sidhu says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing Neilson in some pre-season games, he has a lot of character and is willing to throw ‘em.  Ryan White is probably the one Hamilton player I’m most hoping gets a chance with the big club.

  12. sidhu says:

    Boone, I’m with you on this one — we need more WHL/size/grit especially on the backend.  Plus his favorite team is the Habs.

    If we are going to ship Price, perhaps we can send him to STL as part of a deal for Backes and STL’s first round pick (14th overall) to select this big boy, whose ranked 17th for North American skaters and thus 14 may be a decent time to nab him.  (Boston is at 15, and I’d hate for them to get bigger.)

    Also, as someone mentioned below, I don’t think signing O’Sullivan for cheap is a bad idea — he played with Cammy in the A and on the Kings, and has some offensive flair.  A one year deal for no more than $1m doesn’t sound all that bad, but the potential upside is good.  Worst case scenario: we waive him and he plays in Hamilton or is picked up by another club. 

    I think a better idea would be to go after former 1st rounders Ladd and Eager, perhaps sending Pacioretty the other way.  We all know Chicago has cap problems and they need to get rid of some players.  Ladd is a power forward, scored 17 goals, and seemed dispensable when he was injured and Kopecky stepped up.  Eager gives us much needed energy and grit on the 4th line, and has great wheels for a tougher guy.  Ladd-Moore-Moen is a solid third line, and Eager-Lapierre-Pyatt is also a strong 4th.  On the other side of the coin, I wasn’t impressed with Max Power when he played with us, but he’s a former 1st rounder from a great program, thus may entice Chicago. 

    That leaves shipping AK46 and SK74 for a big defenseman.  If we can do that, and get rid of Hammer’s contract as part of one of these deals (e.g, with Price or with the K bros), I think we’ll be in great shape for the 10-11 campaign.

  13. vic says:

    I dont think Canadiens will pick him as JM doesnt like agressive players

  14. _Habsoloutly_ says:

    ya, but who say’s this guy is even on PG’s radar?  With Timmins still at the helm of the scouting department, I’m sure he’s promoting some high school American kid to the GM.

  15. Mr. Biter says:

    What happened to Eric Nielsen. He was a tough guy at training camp. He’s stll listed on the Dogs roster playing 38 games and 97 PIM. 2009 with Peroria 207 PIM. Was he injured or what happened. Anyone know?

  16. Mr. Biter says:

    Would he be able to help us next year or spend another year in Junior or with the Dogs.

  17. SeriousFan09 says:

    Mock Drafts at NHL.com have this guy not going in the 1st round, but considering the wildcard nature of the draft that’s expected after the top 10, who knows? MTL may be fortunate or PG would have to trade up for him.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  18. jbroderi says:

    boone, you had me with your bashful eyes in your photo!!

     

    “I’ll take potent potables for 500, Alex” JB

  19. Les-Habitants says:

    Cube just signed a two year extension with the Preds.

    Good for him, glad to see he’s still doing well. The guy is a good d-man with a ton of heart

  20. HabFanSince72 says:

    Except that our smurfs didn’t get mauled by the Flyers.

    The Flyers beat us with speed, hard work, and because Leighton seriously outplayed Halak.

     

     

  21. Mr. Biter says:

    I’ve made 2 posts about us needing someone to (sling em) regarding the lad from Winnipeg (go home boy go)and actually BG had it all in place(speed & muscle) but unfortunatly who would guess  BGL wanted to be a”Flying Frenchman” not the ” Fighting Frenchman) he was signed to be. What would have been if he had done his job and screwed “the code”. Flyers and everyone else would have definatly not taken as many liberties with our skill players(who stood tall vs. the hated flyers) and Pronger would have gone into his hole as he did vs. the Hawks.

  22. AH says:

    Boone, after watching our smurfs get mauled by Pronger and company in the conference finals, “you had me at” 6’5″, 215lbs, and 169 PIM!!!!

  23. HardHabits says:

    Same story all season long. Habs played exceptionally well against the higher skilled teams but ran into a brick wall when confronted with teams that played a more “robust” style of hockey. It was no surprise to me what happened in the 3rd round. Habs were dominated in almost every game these playoffs, but in 4 of the 5 against Philly were proven to be not capable of winning puck battles nor of being able to effectively penetrate the dirty zone. Speed, size, grit and talent are needed as much as top picks (young ones, not over the hill ones).

  24. Chris says:

    I couldn’t agree more.  :)

    We’re all expressing opinions here…anybody that claims that their own is more relevant based on their life appears, at least to me, to be scrambling for credibility when they can’t otherwise support their argument with sound reasoning.

  25. C-Dawg says:

    I posted a couple of days ago that I’d like to see us draft McIlrath. I’d like to see PG offer AK with our first round pick to move up and get him.

  26. Rob says:

    I have a minor request.  Just somethign small, but somethign i’ve noticed is being brought up more and more lately.  I just ask that people stop trying to justify the integrity of their opinions or the irrelevance of other peoples opinions based on a perceived “high level” of participation in any given sport. 

    Whether it be hockey or soccer, or anything else….i’ve been hearing a lot of “take it from me, cause i’ve played at a high level”, or “only someone who’s played at a high level would understand”.  Quite frankly, it’s obnoxious.  And it doesn’t help bolster the validity of your argument at all. 

    So my request is that we knock it off with the “i know more than everyone else because i played at a high level” stuff…..it that’s possible.  Thanks!

  27. arcosenate says:

    The fact that this guy can skate is a huge factor. Being able to skate well can make a big difference for the development of a big, tough d-man. I agree with Boone, go get him and turn him loose on Hartnell.

  28. crabvader says:

    Bigger teams like Philly had zero respect for our game and we got murdered for it.

    I’ve said it earlier in the year; we can match the most skilled teams in the league, as long as they are not known for their physicality.

    We proved it against Washington and Pitts but we got demolished by Philadelphia’s rough and tumble game.

    We need kids like this to keep teams like those honest.

  29. Bill says:

    Habs need scoring. Not a killer. The goon factor has always been overrated.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  30. bwoar says:

    Hell yes.  This team is crying out for some Winnipeg.  McIlrath is the kind of pick you can’t really screw up by taking, he’s physically a hockey player and mentally on his way.  I expect he’ll be picked top 25, but am skeptical about top 15…. I’d give up something to get him if it’s at all possible.  We’re not talking O’Byrne pt. 2 here, the kid can play defense.

  31. habjay93 says:

    Good call Mike I totally agree. This team hasn’t been the same since the genius Reggie Fool traded Lyle Odelein.

  32. Chris says:

    Might have to look at a goalie…the organization isn’t very strong, especially if one of Price or Halak walk and Sanford gets signed elsewhere.  And Price on his own isn’t worth much more than a second round draft pick, perhaps a low first round pick.  A top-6 forward (unless he is carrying some serious baggage) for a young goalie with some baggage after the last 18 months is perhaps unrealistic…I think Price will be good, but goalies just don’t command that much. 

    I’m always wary of drafting to a need….the Habs did that to miserable effect through the 1990′s.  You have to go with the players that have the best chance of becoming good NHL players, regardless of size, nationality (although this could be an issue when drafting Russians due to the KHL) or position.

    You can never have too many assets.  If we have a smallish, speedy skilled player too many, he can be traded for a similar player that fits the organization’s needs better.  The Habs really need to be more active in the trade arena, because the Flyers just finished showing that smart trades can really help build a good team.

  33. mbplekfan says:

    Price is going to be traded. I expect a top 6 forward with size to be coming back.

    If its a center then Pleks is moving on. If its a winger then AK will likely be packaged and moved.

    Pouliot needs to develop as does Pacioretty. Both guys have size and skill but lack the killer instinct and work ethic needed to succeed at the NHL level. That can change.

    Drafting big all the way down the line will help a lot this year. No goalies or small, speedy forwards need apply.

    Trotter, Desharnais and Weber can be used as trade filler.

  34. naweed235 says:

    ok guys hear me out… Chances are that Pleky is
    gone… It also seems like one of the two goalies is leaving aswell…
    Chicago won the cup and they need to get rid of some players and the
    most likely is Patrick Shap… Do you guys believe that with the players
    that we have we could in anyway get him?

    I would arrange a deal
    including price going their way….

    What do u think would be the
    most likely scenario if that were to happen?

    I know that with the
    guys that we got here, Halak and (hopefully a decent player for the
    Kbros) we should have a solid team for next season …

  35. Chris says:

    Timonen was also great in Nashville.  He was great because he was and still is a very good and very smart defenceman.

    As for the rest, I agree.  So who do you propose we get?  What big players out there are available that can help?

  36. Chris says:

    I agree whole-heartedly…so who’s available?

    If wishes were fishes, Newfoundland would still have an active cod industry.

    Big powerful forwards that can play top-6 minutes are sought by 75% of the teams in the NHL.  They are drafted top-10 in the draft.  They get massive offers as UFA’s.

    There are no such guys availble this summer in Montreal’s price bracket.  We have one of the highest paid trios of forwards in the NHL in Gomez-Gionta-Cammalleri (combined $18 million cap hit).  We have one of the highest paid defence duos in Hamrlik-Markov (combined $11 million).  We’ve got Plekanec (or his replacement) and Halak/Price to re-sign, probably to significant raises…this means we’re not loaded with money to sign a Marleau or Jokinen.

    On a trade front, we would be asked to give up a lot of the team’s already questionable depth to secure that top-6 power forward.

    We’re not drafting from a position this summer to get a power forward that can make an impact next season.

    So how do we improve the team if this thing we want, the big hulking forward that can clog the front of the net, isn’t available and/or affordable?  Accumulation of free* assets that can then help offset the potential loss of guys like AK46, Sergei and/or Plekanec in trade packages would be my start, personally.

    *Free in this case means no loss of assets…just cap space, and hopefully not a lot of it.  :)

  37. mbplekfan says:

    Toews is 6’2″ and it is rare that he his outmuscled for a puck, and you are right that Hossa is a bull.

  38. mbplekfan says:

    All of those guys are quality NHL players. The also have supporting casts with size.

    MTL has all the NHL calibre small players we need. Our need is size.

    Kimo Timonen is great on a defence corps that features Coburn and Pronger, put him beside Gorges and you have a much too small pairing that would get pounded.

    Size, Size and more size.

  39. Chorske says:

    The likes of Toews and Kane could count on the hulking Byfuglien to clog up the front of the net. And to top it off, they had Hossa, who despite his soft hands is built like a large bull and is not afraid to throw his bulk around- or at least, he certainly didn’t hold back in this series.

    I don’t care much about size, but I sure would like to see more meanness. I am sick of Laps yapping- I want someone who can camp out in front of the net and leave a mess.

  40. stjrandy says:

    Despite the noble sentiments of the Mathman it’s clear that the habs just aren’t going to win the physical battles often enough to be a cup winning team. The Eastern conference is getting bigger and nastier and this makes the prospects of success with a small and light team much harder than it needs to be. The Habs desperately need a few nasty and mean players just to allow the small skill guys the freedom to do their thing without fear of injury. Maybe they can land Kassian from Buffalo in trade. Drafting McIlrath would also help. Size and attitude married to skill is a winning formula.

     

    Back from the Abyss

  41. Chuck Chuck Goose says:

    Favourite team is the Canadiens, but his favourite show is “Entourage”…..you win some, you lose some :-)

  42. Chuck Chuck Goose says:

    but his favourite game is “Mario Kart 64!”

    +1

  43. showey47 says:

    he’s a habs fan which means,like us he has a deep hate for the leafs,bruins and flyers. I would like to see some hate added to our lineup. Honestly, i don’t think we have a chance in hell of landing him unless we trade up. Or move some of our young prospects to land some other teams 1st round picks.

  44. SeriousFan09 says:

    Sign him for life.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  45. GrimJim says:

    If he’s the guy I think I’ve heard about, the Calgary Hitmen announcers compare his skill set to Tyler Myers, but McIllrath will take longer to develop into those skills. 

    As for trading up, Cullen on TSN (I think) says Boston will want a player with a scoring touch for next year, so anyone think Boston would trade the 15th pick for AKost and our 27th pick? It means Boston trades within the div and drops from mid to bottom of the pack but they already have a top 2 pick so the second first-round pick is gravy and they get a player who can step in right away. And AKost’s lack of consistent physical play is less damaging to a team with Lucic etc.

  46. MathMan says:

    How’s his positional game? How’s his transition skill?

    Standing in front of the net is nice, but it’s only part of a guy’s defensive skills. Hal Gill may not be nasty, but he does this too.

  47. Keith says:

    Yeah, I’d snap this guy up in a second, but do we really think he will be available by the time the Habs get to pick?

  48. crabvader says:

    If we can snatch him, there is absolutely no reason not to.

    We don’t need any other type of player at this point unless it’s a big center and we could get that via trade or free agency at some point.

  49. Robert L says:

    Funny you can’t type dick in here, but snatch passes the test!

    http://www.habseyesontheprize.com/

  50. crabvader says:

    We live in a world of double-standards, what can I say? Lol.

  51. Hockey Socks says:

    MCIL-WRATH!!!

    I’d take him in a heartbeat.

  52. SeriousFan09 says:

    Well if we’re going to get a brute, might as well have one that will fight and can win them.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  53. MathMan says:

    I don’t give a hoot if the guy fights, or wins fights. I think it’s utterly irrelevant. Fights are an entertainment-only sideshow with next to zero game impact. In fact if he’s any good, I want him on the ice, not forcing my team to play with 5 D-men for five minutes.

    I think the importance of intimidation against the Habs is seriously overstated.

    I’m fine with picking him, so long as he can play hockey. Not many big-ass defensemen can do so effectively, and very few can do so without being babysat by a D-man with real skills (Komisarek anyone?). IMHO the importance of back-end physicality and hitting is entirely overrated, especially for players that take themselves out of position for the big hit. D-men should be positionally sound first and foremost, and ideally have strong puck skills to help in the transition game. Size is valuable, but it’s at best third on the list. You can be an effective D-man without it; you cannot be an effective D-man if you don’t know how to play modern-hockey defense.

    If he can play defense and transition the puck on top of being big and hitty, by all means, go get him, but — I suspect that if he’s not going to be a top-10 pick with his size, it’s because his skills in other areas are questionable.

  54. Hockey Socks says:

    In the WHL, McIlrath stands in front of the net and no one dares to challenge him. After the post, he’s the goalie’s best friend. Very impressive defenseman in that regard. I can’t think of a current NHL defender with the nastiness of McIlrath. Pronger is nasty, but he’s spear in the gut dirty. McIlrath is “I’ll rip your head off your neck” nasty.

  55. Big Ted says:

    I really thought the Habs should have traded up to get Kassian, especially with Lucic in the division. Now that they’re both there, I agree that there’s a need for a big player who takes the body and intimidates. Would prefer if it were a player with some talent so that he can get some ice time and make space for the talented players on the top two lines. Another Gorges Laraque-type, who nobody will fight and who isn’t fast enough to keep up with our smaller skaters, is a useless investment. As a defenceman, you don’t necessarily want a guy who’s going to be in the box for 5-10 minutes a game and leave you short-handed but you take what you can get. Don’t know this kid well enough to know whether he’s got other attributes that make him a first round pick but would love to see the Habs fill in the line-up with some bigger bodies who can hit and skate. Heck, maybe this kid could be another D-converted-to-winger a la Byfuglien. If he’s around, I think he’s worth a shot.


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