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.
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