Despite an injury that took most of his season, Morgan Rielly remains one of the very best prospects in the 2012 entry draft.
- Corey Pronman:“His speed is good with a dangerous top gear and Rielly can be especially impressive from a standstill with his acceleration, four-way mobility, and his elusive quickness. He can also really make things happen on a power play with his footwork and ability to maneuver in tight spaces. Rielly is a very skilled offensive player with plus puck skills and passing ability who can dangle an opponent out of his skates or thread a bullet pass through a tight lane. He creates a lot with his individual ability but much more so with his hockey sense and ability to control the flow. Rielly is very aware of his time and space and rarely seems pressured when making plays. That hockey sense also translates to the other end of the ice as Rielly reads his assignments well, makes a lot of good little plays defensively, and works hard in that aspect.”
- Grant McCagg, tsn: Strengths: An elite puck rushing defenceman with creativity, vision and hands. Competitive and decent in his position game, he has good hockey sense and instincts. Strong skater with good mobility. Weaknesses: Not overly big or physical, described by one scout as a ’5-11 rover’ and will have to continue to refine his defensive play. His knee injury will concern some teams and questions will arise concerning how it may affect his mobility. NHL upside: Offensive skills will intrigue several teams in the Top 20 despite his knee injury and he’ll get a solid opportunity to be an offensive defenceman in the NHL.
- Red Line Report:His most impressive talent is his puck control at top speed, which enables him to generate an exceptional number of even-strength chances off his dangerous rushes. Rielly also has phenomenal power-play abilities as either a quarterback or triggerman, and projects as a top power-play threat at the NHL level.Just by showing the mental fortitude to come back and play in those five playoff games, we think Rielly has pushed himself back into the discussion as a potential top-five pick. At RLR, we feel his upside is the best in this year’s defense crop, ahead of even fellow WHLers Matt Dumba and Ryan Murray, who are still likely to be selected ahead of him come June because of their more extensive bodies of work and exposure this season.
DESJARDINS NHLE (per 82gp)
- Ryan Murphy 10-21-31
- Cam Fowler 4-21-25
- Morgan Rielly 4-21-25
- Dougie Hamilton 4-17-21
- Brandon Gormley 4-14-18
- Ryan Murray 5-12-17
- Nathan Beaulieu 4-12-16
- Erik Gudbranson 1-13-14
- Rielly played in only 18 games during the regular season so the odds of these numbers properly reflecting his offensive ability are not high. Having said that, I think it is fair to suggest he’s among the best offensive defenders in the draft based on his resume and that is reflected here.
- Watching Rielly in the post-season gave one the feeling they were observing something special. A wonderful puck rusher, this kid is probably the most skilled defender in the draft.
- For a team like the Oilers–already boasting some PP dynamite–this fellow might be the player who can transition the puck with authority. Oilers haven’t enjoyed that skill since Lubo, although Ryan Whitney can throw bullets to the forwards tape to tape.
- Reports suggest he can actually play defense, so we’re not looking at a pure chaos gunslinger.
- If he can play defense as suggested, Rielly comes close to having the complete skill set the Oilers are no doubt looking for in their franchise defender.
- Rielly lacks the size NHL teams look for in their defensemen. He’s 6.00, 200.
- Knee injury a concern, although he did come back for the postseason and looked impressive.
- Lacks the edge I believe the Oilers value highly. 2pims this past season in 18 WHL games, 21pims in 65 the previous season.
- I don’t think the Oilers would hesitate selecting Rielly but probably like other options more.
- Rielly is a bit of a risk due to the injury but someone is going to get a blue chip defenseman who may be one of the few blue who can impact offensively.
- I hope the Oilers seriously consider this player should they end up trading out of the #1 overall slot. Imagine having this skill set behind the brilliant young forwards on the PP!
MORGAN RIELLY WILL BE ONE OF THE NHL’S TOP 10 SELECTIONS AT THE 2012 ENTRY DRAFT