Morgan Rielly - Photo courtesy of the WHL/Moose Jaw Warriors
Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
Date of Birth: March 9th, 1994
Place of Birth: West Vancouver, BC
Ht: 6'0" Wt: 170
2011-2012 Regular Season Stats:
2011-2012 WHL Playoff Stats:
Rielly is similar to Alex Galchenyuk, in that an unfortunate ACL tear back in November put a huge dent in his draft season. He made it back for five playoff games in Moose Jaw's conference final series against Edmonton, but overall only managed to play in 23 games this season as a result of the injury. Definitely a disappointment for Rielly.
Nonetheless, when healthy he might be one of the better offensive defensemen in this draft. He's not a big guy, but he skates like a demon, and was on a point-per-game pace from the blue line before his injury. Despite the knee problem, he ended up fifth on the Central Scouting Final Rankings for North American skaters. His strengths are his skating and speed, his ice vision, and his ability to make plays from the blue line. He's drawn comparisons to Erik Karlsson in terms of their play at the pre-draft level, and is also noted for his leadership abilities.
I've seen Rielly do things on the ice that nobody else was doing. I saw him make those little passes to guys who weren't expecting the puck to get there. He's the type of player who can lead the rush and he'll be the first guy back. I think his creativity makes him one of the top players in the league. He's like a chess player; he's thinking one or two moves ahead. He sees stuff coming that a lot of players don't see.
Rielly is an offensive dynamo who does a tremendous job of generating offense with his speed and vision. Excellent surveyor of the ice that has a great feel for how to set the tempo for his team. Defensive play may be questionable due to his shorter stature, but makes up for it with quick footwork. Excellent vision and hands around the net. If his season wasn’t cut short, we believe you’d see Rielly make a serious charge at Murray in the rankings.
Why he'd be a good fit in Columbus:
Well, one thing this club can always use is scoring. Rielly isn't going to remind Jackets fans of Jan Hejda at his best in terms of his defensive ability, but what he could be is a Kris Letang/Erik Karlsson kind of player who is able to set up teammates and help generate offense. As a WHL rookie in 2010-2011, he led his team in rookie scoring and was second among defensemen. Given the current make-up of the CBJ blue line, it's clear that the Jackets are trying to move away from big plodding guys toward a crop of fast-skating, puck-moving offensive-minded D-men. Rielly would certainly fit that bill perfectly.
Rielly in Action: