All week leading up to the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, we’ll be profiling top prospects who may hear their names called Friday in the first round. Nothing too in-depth. Just enough so you know who they are and what they’re about.
Morgan Rielly (D)
Height: 6’0 Weight: 190 Shoots: Left
Team: Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 5 among North American skaters
What kind of player is he?
Put it this way — nobody is going to question the kid’s heart or desire. After rolling through the first 18 games of the WHL season at a point-a-game clip (3G-15A), the highly-touted rearguard tore his ACL, an injury many figured would be the end to his season.
Rielly had other plans.
Months of rigorous rehab and some major lobbying saw him return for Moose Jaw’s Eastern Conference final series against Edmonton. Though the Warriors lost in five games, Rielly managed to put up six points and confirmed to scouts everything what they thought prior to the injury — that he’s one of the best blueliners in this draft class.
Rielly ended up the second-ranked North American defenseman by Central Scouting, behind Everett’s Ryan Murray.
“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.” — Corey Pronman, Hockey Prospectus.
More draft profiles:
Cristoval ‘Boo’ Nieves
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?