From MLHS user DefenceWinsChampionships:
As some of you may already know, I got to see Morgan Rielly play last night in Regina. He scored Moose Jaw’s only goal in a 4-1 loss to the Pats. Here are some things I noticed throughout the night:
– Rielly started off slow, but got better as the game went on. It became more and more apparent, over time, that he was the star of the Warriors’ team. Late in the game, he tried to do more himself, apparently feeling some desperation, with his team trailing.
– His passes are hard and accurate, and can come unexpectedly. There was one play where he put a long pass between two Pats and sent a teammate into the offensive zone on a short breakaway. The player did not end up scoring, however.
– Leading up to his powerplay goal, Rielly made it blatantly evident that he wanted the puck. He tapped his stick on the ice until his teammate passed to him, then skated inward and fired a wrister from the top of the circle, beating the Pats’ goaltender. The calling for the puck is a sign of a high level of confidence, something that should aid him in his development.
– Late in the game, when he was playing his best, Rielly read a play, jumped up to the Pats’ blue line, and intercepted a pass, giving himself a breakaway from the blue line in. Unfortunately, his hard wrist shot missed the net. He was trying to pick a corner.
– Rielly actually looked fairly big out there, or at least tall. He isn’t a little “pipsqueak”, by any means. We shouldn’t have to worry too much about him getting thrown around, especially considering the fact that he still has time to grow before suiting up in a Leafs uni.
– He does the little things well. Things that you see from the good puck-movers in the NHL. For example, he was very successful at receiving the puck in his defensive zone under heavy forechecking pressure. He can make that little spin move near the hash marks that good NHL defenseman sometimes make to shake off fore-checkers. It’s hard to explain, but if you watch enough hockey, you should know what I’m talking about.
– He’s also very smart on the powerplay, and works well with his teammates. Often, in the NHL, you’ll see a dman take a pass from a guy on the half boards, take a couple steps inward to draw the nearest opposing defender towards himself, and then flip an almost behind-the-back backhand return pass to the forward on the wall. Rielly did this once, then got himself open right away. He got a pretty good shot off, as a result.
This is just an unorganized summary of things I noticed from Morgan Rielly last night. The goal and the breakaway pass should be in the highlights on the Pats/Warriors websites, if you want to see them. Overall, I was pretty impressed by the kid’s play. He’s a point-per-game player so far this season, if anyone is wondering. He may be for the whole year, because he is a noticeable threat on the ice, even as a defenseman.