Alain Vigneault has spoken recently about adding bite to his lineup, and that is certainly what he will get as the Rangers called up rugged defenseman Dylan McIlrath from AHL Hartford late Wednesday afternoon, likely to make his NHL debut on Thursday at the Garden against the Blue Jackets.

The Blueshirts practiced with just six healthy defensemen on Wednesday, as Marc Staal remains out indefinitely after suffering his second concussion in just under three years on Saturday.

McIlrath, 21, was taken 10th overall in the 2010 draft, and had three goals, four assists and a league-leading 115 penalty minutes through 24 games with the Wolf Pack. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from Winnipeg, Manitoba, was third in the AHL with nine fighting majors, and carries the not-so-subtle nickname of “The Undertaker.”

It’s likely McIlrath will take the spot of either Justin Falk or John Moore on the blue line, as those two have been the third pair for the past two games.

That has also placed Michael Del Zotto back into a top-four role, something Vigneault had previously been hesitant to do.

“He’s been all right,” said Vigneault, who had made Del Zotto a healthy scratch in five of the previous 13 games before playing him 20:38 and 20:20 in the past two while in Staal’s spot next to Anton Stralman. “He’s had his moments when he’s jumped up in the attack and made the right plays.”