Passing along a quick conversation with Morgan Rielly from later on this past season:
On your personal development: This was your sophomore season; a bit of a tough one to go through as a player that’s still developing. What’s it feel like to go through so much adversity at a young stage of your career?
I think you have to treat it like a positive. There’s lots of players who are older than me who haven’t had a chance to experience what I’ve experienced, and I think that’s a good thing. Obviously the team is going through a tough time as a group. There was a coaching change and everything else like that. It’s easy to get down, but it’s experiences like that that help you grow as a person and a player. You’ve just got to handle it in stride and learn on the fly.
Is there anything that you’ve seen personally from the times that you’ve played in junior to where you are now? Any changes in your game, maybe not necessarily implemented by coaching staff, but just something that you’ve worked on on your own?
I’m not sure if there’s just, you know, one area. I think it’s just a matter of playing the game as a two-way defenceman as opposed to just being one-dimensional. I think that’s the main thing with me. I want to be able to play in each area of the ice, and I think I’ve been able to improve on that.
Is there something that you’re trying to get out of your game?
There is always times when you’re trying to get better at everything. There are habits that players have when they get tired on the ice; they might just whack the puck away as opposed to holding it and trying to make a play. That’s one of them, but there are lots of areas. There’s no perfect player in the world, so it’s always a matter of trying to get better.
Did you watch a lot of the World Juniors considering you were there last year?
Yeah. It’s always cool to get a chance to watch them. When the team is playing that well, it’s a lot more fun.
Being a sophomore now, is there anything that you would tell yourself back in your draft year to prepare you for now?
People are always offering advice. They always say how bad the Toronto media is, what it’s like playing against pro players, but I think you really just have to experience it and learn from it. There’s no way to know exactly what’s going to happen over the course of two years. You just have to learn in stride and experience it.