Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Why the Capitals Should Look at Matt Gilroy

Gilroy won the Hobey.  So did GMGM. Omen? We'll see.
Lost in the commotion over the weekend of all of the draft picks made and trades completed, the New York Rangers made a curious move when they released defenseman Matt Gilroy. Gilroy had been in the Rangers organization for two rather lackluster seasons after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2009. After the Blueshirts failed to make him a qualifying offer before the deadline imposed by the NHL, he became an unrestricted free agent, available to any team.
So why am I talking about a free agent defenseman who used to be on the Rangers?  Well, it's because I think the Capitals should make him an offer.  I know, I know: the Caps have too many defensemen signed to NHL contracts as it is, aren't we trying to get rid of one (Tom Poti, cough)?  There is no room for him on our blue line.  He was released by the Rangers, why would Washington want him?  All of these are valid questions.
I respond with: this dude is good.  While at Boston University, Gilroy was a three-time All-American (2x first team in '08, '09, 1x second team in '07) and won the Hobey Baker award in 2009.  That same year, he won the national championship with the Terriers inside Verizon Center, becoming only the fifth player in NCAA history to accomplish the feat of winning both the Hobey and a ring in the same season.  His stats in college are nothing to sneeze at, either; in 160 career collegiate games he scored 25 goals and collected 92 total points.  He has skill, that is not the question.
Another reason is that he has played in a poor offensive system both of his years in the NHL, as the Rangers ranked 16th in goals scored in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.  Gilroy is an offensive, puck-moving defenseman who likes to jump into the play and create; the MO of the typical Rangers' defenseman is pretty much the exact opposite.  John Tortorella is also not particularly kind to younger players who make mistakes, putting them in the doghouse and keeping them there for often irrational amount of time. His inconsistent playing time on the senior circuit has no doubt contributed to his poor offensive totals so far as a pro: he has only 26 points (7 goals) in 127 career games.  Bruce Boudreau, on the other hand, seems to have a knack for helping younger players develop to their full potential. Maybe a change of scenery is all he needs (just look at Michael Grabner).  Hey, you never know.
Look, I am not saying that Gilroy is going to be the next Mike Green.  He's obviously not.  But he'll be 27 years old on opening night, he's skilled, and he won't cost that much to bring on board.  Maybe invite him to training camp and see how it goes from there.  For a team that suddenly seems to need offense from the back end, especially if  Green gets traded, I've heard worse ideas.

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