This year’s NHL draft is extremely heavy in defence prospects, and as we continue today we bring you yet another. Our #8 ranked prospect is a premier offensive defenceman, Morgan Rielly of the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors.
Born Mar 9 1994 — Vancouver, BC
Height 6.00 — Weight 190 — Shoots L
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Morgan Rielly might have the most high end offensive potential of any defenceman in this draft. Before his injury he was scoring at a point per game pace for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL. Rielly is an absolutely elite skater, and is in the conversation with Matt Dumba for the best skater in this draft class. His speed is off the charts, he uses his edges effectively, he has a great first step and quick acceleration, and his pivots and changes of direction are quick and crisp. His skating is already at a level that would leave many NHLers in his dust.
Rielly loves to carry the puck, and loves to lead his teams rushes from the backend. A frequent sight at Warriors games was Rielly trying an end to end rush this season. He’s great with the puck on his stick, and has good vision and passing ability. He also has both a great wrist and slap shot and he utilizes these along with his great vision, and ability to make crisp tape to tape passes to be a future elite PP Quarterback.
Rielly does sometimes make mistakes and has a habit of sometimes being a gambler, and making a bad giveaway due to his desire to always push the offence. He also needs to continue to bulk up and become stronger before he will be able to take on bigger forwards in the defensive zone. However Rielly’s puck skills do help him defensively as he’s able to quickly move the puck up the ice, most of the time.
Unfortunately Rielly, like our number 4 ranked prospect, Alex Galchenyuk, suffered a torn ACL in a game in November this year. This has really limited his games this season as he has not played since. However the Warriors have just received the good news that Rielly has been medically cleared to participate in the WHL Western Conference final vs the Edmonton Oil Kings. There are sure to be a ton of scouts interested to see exactly how well Rielly has recovered, and his performance in these playoffs and at the NHL Combine will have a huge effect on his stock. Rielly is another real “wild card” prospect who could really rise or really fall depending on those results, but for now, we rank him Number 8 in our 2012 NHL Draft Rankings. If Rielly can recover and hits his vast potential we think he would best be compared to Mike Green, of the Washington Capitals.
….and thats the Last Word.