Christmas in June: Morgan Rielly


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MONTREAL, QC. — Zest, fire and potency make up Morgan Rielly’s explosive style of play.  He is known around the Western Hockey League for offensive ability that can turn the tide of a game. Like a thread through the eye of a needle, Rielly can make precision passes prompting several scouts to claim that he possesses the most potent offensive package in the draft for a defenseman.

Vancouver, British Columbia is where the young six foot, one hundred and ninety pound defender calls home. He was drafted second overall in the WHL Bantam Draft by the Moose Jaw Warriors, and since then has been a solid fixture on their blue line. While Morgan’s production isn’t as gaudy as some might expect, it is important to note that the WHL is known to be one of the harder leagues to produce in when compared to the OHL and QMJHL.

Morgan Rielly’s arsenal consists of the aforementioned pinpoint accuracy when making a pass, a solid slapshot, and creativity. Morgan’s exquisite array of talents is not exclusive to his playmaking ability as he is also known for his high-end skating.  Rielly is considered an offensive juggernaut as he can dictate the pace of a game with a dazzling play, or a jet-propelled end-to-end rush.

Morgan thrives on the man-advantage with his commanding offensive presence, as he breathes life into each two-minute sequence with his jaw dropping skill-set. Rielly needs to learn to harness his rambunctious energy and flair as he can at times be caught trying to do too much in his own zone, leading to turnovers or compromising situations that can quickly go awry. Rielly was on a point-per-game pace before he suffered a season-ending injury which was later confirmed as a torn ACL.  This has caused Rielly’s stock has fallen within the draft, and although he remains the most potent offensive defenseman in the draft, the injury could make some teams weary about selecting him.

Teams will have to decide whether Rielly’s injury was substantial enough to be a deterrent, or if it was a minor setback in what could be a long and successful career for the young prospect. With any injury comes the fear of being injury-prone; Rielly will have to prove the critics that he is a well-oiled machine with a lot to offer, and that his ACL injury is no longer a concern.

Many scouts have claimed that Morgan Rielly style of play mimics that of Ottawa Senator’s Norris Trophy candidate Erik Karlsson. Rielly still has many hurdles to soar over but many believe that he is a solid defenseman that teams can build around for the future. Morgan is projected to be selected within the top ten of this year’s draft; it is the belief of many scouts that he can eventually develop into a solid number two defender, however if he can further refine his game and learn to apply his poise to both ends of the ice, he could become a number one point producing defender that any team would love to have.

You can follow Morgan Rielly on Twitter: @mriles4

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