In a piece on the Rangers prospects awards, Leslie Treff at Hockey's Future says this about Dylan McIlrath's development…
"The 2012-13 season was McIlrath's first season as a pro, and he made a good adjustment. There were times when he was absolutely invisible on the ice, but there were other times when he inflicted bone crushing hits and cleared the crease very well. The 21-year-old remains on target to become Rangers' opponents' most hated blueliner. Still refining his fighting skills and learning positioning, McIlrath is probably two to three years away from fully developing physically and becoming all the Rangers hoped for, but he is currently the best defensive prospect in the system."
…now just because Treff is saying McIrath is 2-3 years away from fully developing doesn't mean that's how long it'll take for him to be in the NHL, but what she's saying pretty much jives with what everyone else who scouts him reports.
…skating seems to be his biggest hangup. If he can continue to improve on that, he will be an intimidating force on the blueline for years to come. If not, we might be looking at another Stu Bickel.
…best case scenario is he starts the season with the Whale and gets called up at some point this season as an injury replacement to get his feet wet.
Treff adds that Oscar Lindberg and J.T. Miller will likely compete for a roster spot in camp this season, while Michael St. Croix will need a full year in the AHL.
Treff also notes that Cristoval "Boo" Nieves is expected to stay at Michigan for one more season.