Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Morgan Rielly is facing a tough road ahead as he tries to crack the team’s lineup this year.
As of now there are seven defensemen with NHL contracts headed into camp and that’s before Cody Franson gets his deal (eventually?) signed to bring him back. There’s also how things would work under the salary cap to worry about as well.
As Chris Johnston of Sportsnet shares, Rielly is just worrying about what he can do and not what the Leafs’ cap situation is.
“I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t know what Capgeek was,” Rielly said Saturday when asked whether he’s paid any attention to where he might fit on the NHL team’s depth chart. “I’ve checked.”
The cap is already a huge issue for Toronto as they try to find a way to re-sign Franson and budding star forward Nazem Kadri. If Rielly played his way onto the Leafs roster, that would present a new set of issues as his cap hit comes in at $1.74 million.
If Rielly does make the team, it’ll take a can’t-miss, instant top-four kind of effort. Not that he can’t do that, but it would seem likely he winds up back in junior hockey with Moose Jaw at some point this year.