Maple Leafs prospect Morgan Rielly. (DAVID BLOOM/QMI Agency file photo)
TORONTO - Some defensive help is on its way to Toronto.
OK, it may be for the AHL Marlies rather than for the parent NHL club, but the expected arrival of junior prospect Morgan Rielly by mid-week certainly adds some excitement to the organization.
Rielly, a first-round pick this past June, likely will finish the AHL season with the Marlies now that his junior season is over with the Moose Jaw Warriors not making the Western Hockey League playoffs. The talented, puck-moving defenceman will get the opportunity to learn the pro game under Marlies coach Dallas Eakins, who has helped so many young players in the organization develop.
"I'm not sure what to expect there," Rielly told the Moose Jaw Times Herald. "I'm going to keep working hard and if I get to play, I will try to make the most of it. I'm going to try to gain experience by being around pro hockey players and learn as much as I can."
Where he goes next will be up to Rielly. If the Leafs brass feels it is best for his development, he could return to junior for another year but some believe he could make the leap to the Leafs as soon as next season.