The Toronto Maple Leafs are getting an early look at how well their top pick in the 2012 draft is adjusting to the game at the professional level, as defenseman Morgan Rielly has joined the AHL’s Toronto Marlies for the remainder of the season. Rielly was chosen fifth overall, and after his WHL team, the Moose Jaw Warriors were eliminated from playoff contention he was reassigned to the Marlies by the Maple Leafs. In his first game for the Marlies on Friday, Rielly scored the game-tying goal against the Chicago Wolves (Vancouver Canucks)
Rielly is considered one of the strongest prospects the organization has, and could have a shot at making the team out of training camp next season. He had 12 goals and 54 points for Moose Jaw this season, and joined Team Canada at the 2013 World Junior Championship, where he had a goal and four points in four games. A knee injury sidelined him for most of last season, but the Maple Leafs still saw enough in him to make him their first pick in the draft. Rielly has good size and is a legitimate threat as an offensive defenseman, and could have a bright future as a power-play anchor. The Maple Leafs recalled Marlies defenseman Jake Gardiner earlier this week (as well as winger Ryan Hamilton), which for the moment could open up more ice time for Rielly. While this season is going pretty well for the Maple Leafs, the future may look even brighter if prospects and Rielly continue to look this good.