When Michal Rozsival suits up this weekend, Matt Gilroy will likely be in a suit in the press box.
Rozsival is expected to return from his shoulder injury by next week.
Bad news for the right-handed D-man Gilroy who’s been hung out to dry playing the unnatural left side.
He’s steadily improved and looked more comfortable shooting the puck and jumping in on the rush. But if Coach Tortorella’s prior sentiments and g.m. Glen Sather’s notions are any indication, Gilroy won’t be a Ranger much longer. His two year entry level contract is up this summer.
He never had a chance — literally. He hasn’t been given the opportunity to play a single game on his natural right side.
Result? Gilroy was stung with the Tyler Seguin gaffe goal in the Rangers’ 3-2 loss to the Bruins last week.
Instead he’s been shuffled aside for veteran Steve Eminger (the 27-year-old former first round snooze has been playing in the NHL since 2002) picked up this summer–almost like an afterthought– and new cool D-kid on the block Michael Sauer. Sauer can’t play the left side and Eminger? Torts is sold either way it seems. (Eminger has one point in 20 games, taken six shots and has a -3 rating. Gilroy has three points, 17 shots and a +5 rating in 15 games.)
With an abundance of right-handed defenseman (only Marc Staal and Michael Del Zotto are left sided capable D-men), he’s been kicked to the side on the depth charts and left to fend for himself as he continues on with his sophomore slump.
As the g.m. and coach have prided themselves on the youth movement this season, it seems like they’ve dropped the ball on the former BU walk-on star leader.
At Boston University, Gilroy excelled as an offensive D-man and won the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player. He had 37 points in 45 games leading BU to the national title in 2009, including the slick pass and assist that got BU, down 3-1 in the third period, to overtime.
Gilroy was originally a forward but BU needed a defenseman, so Gilroy made the switch and the team as a walk-on. By senior year he was co-captain.
Terriers’ coach Jack Parker showed just how far giving a kid a chance and a vote of confidence can go.
Sather opened up his check book but that was about it. Gilroy shined his first month on Broadway last year and then tapered off with AHL stints in Hartford and lackluster outings.
Gilroy is 26, but that doesn’t suddenly make him a slumping veteran. It’s only his second season in the NHL. In order to transfer his game and compete at an NHL level , he needs the opportunity to play.
Unloading him for a time-worn, expensive rental like say Sheldon Souray, that happens to be a lefty D would be a mistake but alas that’s where the storyline is heading.
He may be more mature and have more promise, but there’s not enough room at Sather’s inn (Pavel Valentenko and Ryan McDonagh are waiting in the wings.)
A change of scenery and a new start is probably in Gilroy’s best interest.
About the Author
Written by Margaret DeJesus
I'm a recent college graduate looking for a dream job covering hockey. I've been watching the New York Rangers since my grade school days of VHS and Gordon Bombay's "ducks fly together" speech. While studying journalism at Boston University (COM '10), I wrote for the Daily Free Press, the student newspaper. I worked two summers at the Staten Island Advance, my hometown newspaper, writing city news and features. I've also written CD reviews for Music-Reviewer.com. One of my favorite gigs was interning for hockey analyst extraordinaire Stan Fischler covering the Boston Bruins and attending all their home games in the 2009-2010 season. (Yes, including the crushing defeat against the Flyers in the Eastern Conference playoffs.)