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Draft Profile: Morgan Rielly

Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 11:15 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Draft Profile: Morgan Rielly
Each weekday leading up to the 2012 NHL Draft on June 22, CarolinaHurricanes.com will profile one player we believe might be available for Carolina’s eighth pick. Previous Profiles: Cody Ceci | Mathew Dumba | Radek Faksa | Filip Forsberg | Alex Galchenyuk | Mikhail Grigorenko | Olli Maatta | Griffin Reinhart | Related Links: 2012 NHL Draft Preview | Hurricanes Draft History





Morgan Rielly is a defenseman, but it’s his offensive abilities that have scouts salivating at what he could bring to a National Hockey League club.

Michael Smith
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The 18-year-old Vancouver native is yet another one of the top blueliners available in the most defensively deep draft since 2008, and it’s his offensive upside that sets him apart from the field.

How does Tony MacDonald, the Hurricanes director of amateur scouting, describe Rielly?

“Dynamic. Explosive. Lots of offensive dimension,” he said. “We probably haven’t seen the best of him this year.”

Like fellow top prospect Alex Galchenyuk (profiled here), Rielly’s draft stock was sent into flux after he suffered a torn ACL. The injury happened in early November, 18 games into the Moose Jaw Warriors’ (Western Hockey League) regular season, and at first, he was only expected to miss a few weeks.

On the first of December, however, he was having surgery to repair the torn knee ligament.

More than four months later and after being turned down in the first two rounds of the WHL playoffs, Rielly returned for the Eastern Conference Final. The Warriors were eliminated in five games by the eventual WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings, and Rielly recorded three assists.

MORGAN RIELLY
DEFENSEMAN
HOMETOWN: VANCOUVER, B.C.
HEIGHT: 6-0
WEIGHT: 190
BIRTHDAY: MARCH 9, 1994 (AGE 18)

“He came back in the playoffs, and he was probably just starting to hit his stride when they were eliminated,” MacDonald said.

Some scouts believe that had it not been for his injury, Rielly would have been the top defensive selection on draft day. The same was surmised about Galchenyuk in regards to competing with Nail Yakupov for the top forward selection.

Despite the injury setback, Rielly didn’t see his draft stock falter too much. He was ranked fifth at the midterm by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service and remained at fifth in the group’s final evaluation.

Before being sidelined with the injury, Rielly was a point-per-game producer, recording 18 points (3g, 15a) in as many games. The 6-foot, 190-pound defenseman had 6 goals and 22 assists (28 points) in his first season with Moose Jaw.

Rielly projects to be a playmaking, power play quarterback in the NHL, as he possesses the necessary poise, patience and vision with the puck. He also has the right dosage of speed, agility, mobility and puckhandling skills that allow him to join an offensive attack and make end-to-end rushes. Scouts compare his style of play to that of Erik Karlsson, who was drafted 15th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2008 and notched 78 points (19g, 59a) with the Sens in the 2011-12 season.

“[Rielly] is an offensive-defenseman. He’s a great skater,” MacDonald said. “He really likes to join the attack, and he’s a very proactive player on the attack.”

Rielly might slip on the draft board as teams begin to doubt how the injury might affect his agility and playmaking skills, despite his good showing at the annual scouting combine. But, don’t be surprised to see him selected just outside of the top 10, if not inside of it.

Would Carolina be a suitor? The organization has its fair share of puck-moving offensive-defensemen, but Rielly might prove to be too good of an asset to overlook.



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Skinner 82 28 23 -2 51
V. Rask 80 21 27 -6 48
J. Staal 82 20 28 6 48
E. Lindholm 82 11 28 -23 39
J. Faulk 64 16 21 -22 37
K. Versteeg 63 11 22 -6 33
E. Staal 63 10 23 -3 33
J. Nordstrom 71 10 14 1 24
A. Nestrasil 55 9 14 4 23
R. Nash 64 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 23 17 10 .909 2.41
E. Lack 12 14 6 .901 2.81