Monday, January 7, 2013

Why Morgan Rielly Should Stay In Moose Jaw

With NHL camps starting up later this week there is a great deal of excitement around the league to see what hot young prospects stick with their big clubs. Jonathan Huberdeau, Nail Yakupov, Alex Galchenyuk, and Ryan Strome are some of the top prospects expected to make a good run at joining their NHL clubs for a shortened season. In Leafland, many fans are excited to see how their 2012 5th overall pick, Morgan Rielly, will do in camp and if he can impress the coaching staff enough to land a spot with the team. Sure he might impress, but it would be a big mistake if Rielly lands a spot with the Maple Leafs this season.

Here's why:

Rielly Should Play A Full Season Of Junior Hockey

Last year he only played in 18 games after a horrible knee injury and the year before suited up in 65 games. Let him play a full season against kids his own age and develop in every area of the game before taking the next step (or rather jump a step) in his career. Rielly's Moose Jaw Warriors currently sit in 10th place in their conference and so the push to make the WHL playoffs down the stretch could be a valuable learning experience for him.

Let Him Play Major Minutes

There is no point in Rielly playing 12-14 minutes a night in the NHL and with most of those minutes protected by the coaching staff starting him on faceoffs in the offensive zone and some 2nd unit power-play time. In junior, Rielly is the stud d-man for the Moose Jaw Warriors and will get to play the minutes he deserves.

Not Worth Burning A Year

What's the point of burning a year of a entry level deal on a 48-game season? Will Rielly be the difference maker in the Leafs season? Probably not. He'll only be a better player in a year or two and cost the exact same price when his contract kicks in.

It's Not His Turn

There are other defencemen in the Leafs organization that deserve a chance over Rielly. Korbinian Holzer should be given a chance to prove he belongs in the NHL and now is the time to give him a shot. 27-year-old, Mike Kostka, has been lighting it up for the Marlies putting up 34 points in 33 games this year and should be given a solid look. And then there is 28-year-old Paul Ranger who is still on an AHL contract but should be signed right away and given a roster spot because he has been a rock for the Marlies and doesn't seem to have missed a step since taking some time away from hockey.

He's 18.

Very few players at age 18 make the NHL right away and even fewer play defence. While Carlyle kept Cam Fowler an 18-year-old in Anaheim, the Ducks blueline in 2010 wasn't looking all that great at the time. The Leafs have many options on defence to fill out their bottom pairing, but Morgan Rielly shouldn't be included in those discussions. Once again, he's 18.

What do you think? Would he be a good fit on the Leafs blueline this 2013 NHL season or stay in junior?


  1. They need to sign Paul Ranger and yes Rielly should play the whole season in Moose Jaw.

  2. With jake gardiner hurt I bet he makes it.

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