Morgan Rielly is a Canadian defenseman who played his junior career for the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League. This 18 year old, 6 ft, 190 lb defenseman was born in West Vancouver and was Moose Jaw’s second overall selection in the WHL Bantam Draft.

His honors include a bronze medal in the World U-17 Hockey Challenge and a selection to the 2011 Subway Super Series. Rielly—s season was cut short by a torn ACL as the D-man played only 18 games for the Warriors scoring 18 points during that stretch, including 3 goals. We needed to add some more mobility on the back end and we got it now.

Morgan Rielly scouting report (Globe and Mail): Like Galchenyuk, he missed most of the season with a torn ACL, playing just 18 games before returning late in the playoffs. Like Dumba, he’s not overly big but is a good skater with offensive ability. Our scout calls him the potential steal of the draft — the best defence prospect since Drew Doughty — given his stickhandling and playmaking skills. McKeen—s: Rielly possesses similar attributes to Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson as the two play an almost identical skating and puck possession game.”

from The Art Of Scouting
[pull_quote_center]A gifted offensive defenseman that has the ability to generate offense in any situation. Shows the potential to be first pairing NHL defenseman and top end power play quarter back. He can create offensive opportunities with a excellent first pass and disrupt any manner of fore-check a team sends his way. His intelligence and skating ability will allow him to move the puck and rush the puck with equal efficiency. He will need time to develop his physical strength for his defensive game to handle NHL forwards. He will need an extra year of development at the junior or AHL level to make up for the lost time due to his knee injury. He did not miss a beat or any quickness or lateral movement after the knee injury. He seemed confident and did not hesitate to play his style upon his return. I consider him the purist offensive defenseman in the draft and should develop into a top pairing defenseman in the NHL.[/pull_quote_center]


Dynamic. Explosive. Lots of offensive dimension,  he said.  We probably haven’t seen the best of him this year.

Like fellow top prospect Alex Galchenyuk (profiled here), Rielly’s draft stock was sent into flux after he suffered a torn ACL. The injury happened in early November, 18 games into the Moose Jaw Warriors— (Western Hockey League) regular season, and at first, he was only expected to miss a few weeks. On the first of December, however, he was having surgery to repair the torn knee ligament.

More than four months later and after being turned down in the first two rounds of the WHL playoffs, Rielly returned for the Eastern Conference Final. The Warriors were eliminated in five games by the eventual WHL champion Edmonton Oil Kings, and Rielly recorded three assists.

He came back in the playoffs, and he was probably just starting to hit his stride when they were eliminated,” MacDonald said.

Some scouts believe that had it not been for his injury, Rielly would have been the top defensive selection on draft day. The same was surmised about Galchenyuk in regards to competing with Nail Yakupov for the top forward selection.

Despite the injury setback, Rielly didn’t see his draft stock falter too much. He was ranked fifth at the midterm by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service and remained at fifth in the group’s final evaluation.

Before being sidelined with the injury, Rielly was a point-per-game producer, recording 18 points (3g, 15a) in as many games. The 6-foot, 190-pound defenseman had 6 goals and 22 assists (28 points) in his first season with Moose Jaw.

Rielly projects to be a playmaking, power play quarterback in the NHL, as he possesses the necessary poise, patience and vision with the puck. He also has the right dosage of speed, agility, mobility and puckhandling skills that allow him to join an offensive attack and make end-to-end rushes. Scouts compare his style of play to that of Erik Karlsson, who was drafted 15th overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2008 and notched 78 points (19g, 59a) with the Sens in the 2011-12 season.


OHL Scout, Sean Lafortune

Morgan Rielly Interview:   Morgan Rielly Hightlights Brian Burke on Morgan Rielly

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder and editor of, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He's published five magazines on the team entitled "The Maple Leafs Annual" with distribution in Chapters and newsstands across the country. He also co-hosted "The Battle of the Atlantic," a weekly show on TSN1200 that covered the Leafs and the NHL in-depth. Alec is a graduate of Trent University and Algonquin College with his diploma in Journalism. In 2014, he was awarded Canada's Best Hockey Blogger honours by Molson Canadian. You can contact him at