I wanted to weigh in with my opinion on a great piece Nick wrote at the Rangers Tribune. Nick at the RT wrote about Matt Gilroy getting another shot on the Rangers D this coming season.
I absolutely endorse this ‘2nd shot’ and agree with Nick’s opinion. Do we all have long enough memories to remember half the league (if not more) clamouring for Gilroy’s signature before he caused celebration amongst Rangers fans by signing in NYC? I remember. I also remember the great start in both the preseason and the regular season that Gilroy made. I remember him scoring his first pro goal against a certain Martin Brodeur. I remember the media hype he prematurely received. I also remember the way his season spiralled into mediocrity.
John Tortorella likes to come across as a coach that demands a lot from his charges, he likes to hold them accountable – so he tells us. But I wonder if Torts is willing to admit mistakes? In my opinion, he handled the Gilroy situation terribly. He gave up on him too quickly and personally I don’t think he factored in the ‘NCAA Wall’ that Gilroy was obviously going to encounter. Torts has spoken this off season – and during the exit interviews – about going with youth, riding out any mistakes for a better future. Well this wasn’t evident with Gilroy last year. I don’t think Torts appreciated enough how Gilroy is still very much learning the position and I think Gilroy’s age played against the defenceman. Despite his age, he was still very raw and inexperienced, especially at the NHL level.
All this doesn’t however detract from the fact Gilroy has some serious skill. He’s a wonderful skater, stick handler and can pass well. All these attributes are critical components in the ‘new NHL’. Gilroy deserves a chance for a few reasons. Simply, the Rangers committed to him financially. Also, Gilroy has flashed his talent enough to warrant another chance and I think he’ll get it. Even the Rangers brass now know Redden = epic fail so spots are there for the taking. Gilroy shouldn’t encounter any NCAA wall this coming season and I think the time he served at the World Championships (thus extending his season and adding experience) will stand him in good stead. His year and solid WC should have been good enough to earn him a chance, initially at least, ahead of McDonagh and Eminger. It’s up to him to take it.
I am confident Gilroy will be a better player than he was last season and for a team still looking for any extra offense a more experienced, slick skating player like Gilroy can really add an extra dynamic to this team. Besides, giving the former Hobey Baker winner another chance costs the club nothing but time.