Report: Maple Leafs won’t release Rielly for World Juniors

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Team Canada reportedly won’t have Morgan Rielly to count on to try and win gold at the World Junior Championships.

Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun reports the Toronto Maple Leafs will not release the 19-year-old to play in the annual tournament.

“I’d say he’s a big part of this group right here, right now and we don’t see that changing at this point,” Leafs vice-president of hockey operations Dave Poulin said on Friday. “That’s the way we’re looking at it.”

Poulin didn’t flatly deny Rielly would be held out of the tournament, so there’s still the possibility he’d be allowed to go. If he does play for Team Canada, he would likely be a candidate to be team captain.

Rielly has played in 20 games for the Leafs this season and has no goals and eight assists. He’s been an on-again, off-again scratch in their lineup of late, most recently swapping places with Jake Gardiner.