Coming down to the finish here on the player profile series as I believe this is the final installment, that is, he is the last ACTIVE Ranger that I’ll be doing a player profile on. Not quite sure yet if I can even muster one up on Boogaard (remember him?)
Gilroy is an interesting case. A highly persued rookie coming off a Hobey Baker year at BU, Gilroy was a hot commodity in the 09 off-season. The Rangers were able to charm him enough to earn his employment however it’s safe to say that Gilroy has not yet lived up to the expectations that came with him, his salary, or if he will even get the chance to do so in a Rangers sweater.
Here is the interesting case of #97, Matt Gilroy.
Weight: 201 lbs
NHL Experience: Currently in his sophomore season
Contract: $1.75 million (RFA at years end)
Before the NHL:
Before becoming one of the most highly regarded free agents on the market in the 09 offseason Matt Gilroy, the Long Island native, was a late bloomer in the game of hockey. Going to BU at the age of 21 to play four full seasons there, Gilroy only made the team due to the fact that he was willing to switch his game from forward to defenseman.
Gilroy’s successes at BU were very limited until his senior year (when he was 24) when he carried BU on his back as their captain to a national championship. Gilroy was very impressive during this season contributing 37 points in just 49 games earning himself the Hobey Baker award as college hockey’s MVP. It was this season, the 08-09 BU campaign that put Gilroy on the map for NHL teams looking to develop an offensive minded dman at the NHL level.
Gilroy’s skating ability and apparent offensive instincts appeared to be what NHL GMs were craving for their teams in the new NHL.
If I remember correctly the bidding war came down to the Maple Leafs and the Rangers and Gilroy decided to come close to home and play for the Blueshirts.
Since Gilroy’s hockey skills came on display after being too old for a WJC appearance, Matt’s only US National appearance came this past off-season where he was very impressive for the US in the World Championships. In 6 games representing his country Gilroy recorded 3 goals and 1 assist. Interesting enough, in those 6 games Gilroy recorded just 1 less goal than he did all season for the Rangers before the tournament in 63 less games.
Gilroy’s rookie campaign was an interesting one. When he came into the league I know myself and many other Rangers fans were hoping for some sort of an offensive explosion from Gilroy. Ready to take the bad plays he may make in the D zone with the good plays he’d make for the Rangers on the power play or at even strength, oddly enough the opposite occurred. Gilroy’s offense stuttered through his rookie campaign while his play in his own zone appeared much more developed.
Gilroy started off the season on the good graces of the coaching staff, logging 15+ minutes per night early in the season while occasionally even receiving more than 20 minutes of playing time. However it’s easy to read how Matt Gilroy’s rookie campaign went as by the end of the year he was logging less than 15 minutes on most nights that he played. Recall that at the end of the season Anders Eriksson had officially taken Gilroy’s spot in the lineup as the Rangers made their desperate run to try and make the playoffs.
Gilroy’s point totals concluded at 15 points in 69 games an even +/- while logging an average of 16:19 a game. Normally this type of season would be one of a good sign as a rookie defenseman in the NHL, however more was expected of Gilroy.
Outlook 2010-2011 and Beyond:
What we’ve been seeing from Gilroy this season appears to be more of the same from his rookie year. Flashes of brilliance amidst an open sea of mediocrity and not much development. His numbers from his rookie year are on pace to decline, and he’s seen less action. Being a healthy scratch on most nights, or at least deserving to be one (#PlayEminger) Gilroy has been less than impressive.
Appearing in only 55 of the Rangers 73 contests thus far this season, Gilroy has mustered up 11 points. He’s logging 2 minutes less per night than he saw last season and appears to be constantly falling into the coaches bad graces.
Most of the 55 times we’ve seen Gilroy play this season I’d sit and wonder why he’s in the lineup. Currently developing into a non-physical defensive dman whose not even that polished in his own zone, Gilroy has become nearly useless to the future of the Rangers.
3 of his 11 points have come on the power play (all assists) and he rarely ever gets powerplay time. Tortorella is more willing to run a forward like Stepan or Zuccarello on the point over Gilroy, and that’s a bad sign for a guy brought into the team to bring offense and help the power play.
Now with the defense seemingly ailing with Staal out of the lineup, and McDonagh not partaking in practice today after receiving the viscous hit from Matt Cooke yesterday, Gilroy will continue to see time in the lineup. But with a healthy defense, I don’t see how Gilroy is a better option than the rest of the top 6 with McCabe in the fold.
After this season, I believe Gilroy’s time with the Rangers will come to an end. As an RFA earning more than $1 million per year, Gilroy’s qualifying offer is 100% of his current contract, so, the same contract. It’s hard to believe that the Rangers will offer Gilroy that kind of money for this production (well then again, Sather is GM here) and will likely let him become a UFA. With Del Zotto itching to get back into the lineup next off-season, and other guys like Valentenko, Kundratek, and Pashnin knocking down the door, Gilroy, at age 26 (27 in the offseason) will be the one who is clearly not part of the plan and not part of the future.
A low-risk, high-reward move for the Rangers, when the season concludes it’s time to cut ties.
About the Author
Written by Adam Gavriel