Morgan Rielly with Maple Leafs ... for now

Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly. (QMI Agency files)

Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly. (QMI Agency files)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:48 PM ET

Morgan Rielly is a Maple Leaf.

“He is with our hockey club,” Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said of the 19-year-old defenceman on Monday afternoon.

“He is one of our seven defencemen. We feel strongly Morgan is a young kid who has shown a lot of potential and played well in training camp and there are a lot of positives. We just have to measure if he is going to be productive, both for him and our hockey club and to play in the NHL this year. It is a difficult decision.”

The Leafs can use Rielly in nine games before deciding whether to keep him for the season or send him back to Moose Jaw. Once he plays in a 10th game, the first year of his three-year entry-level deal kicks in.

“It’s a good feeling,” Rielly said. “It was a pretty long camp and I’m pretty happy I am here. I have a lot of work to do still and I am going to keep working hard.

“I have not proven anything yet. Hopefully I can play in a few games here and play well.”

Rielly, who has to play in the Western Hockey League this season if he is not with the Leafs, was the seventh defenceman during practice at the Air Canada Centre as the Leafs prepared for their 2013-14 regular-season opener in Montreal on Tuesday night.

Dion Phaneuf was paired with Carl Gunnarsson, Cody Franson was with Mark Fraser and Jake Gardiner skated alongside Paul Ranger.

The lines were: James van Riemsdyk-Tyler Bozak-Phil Kessel; Joffrey Lupul-Nazem Kadri-Nikolai Kulemin; Mason Raymond-Dave Bolland-David Clarkson; and Carter Ashton-Jay McClement-Colton Orr.

“The guy has earned the opportunity,” Carlyle said of Ashton. “It is pretty simple. I don’t think there is any sugar-coating or fluff involved with it. The guy has come out, worked hard, played the game at a pace that he separated himself in our eyes with his work ethic and his commitment to being on the forecheck.”

Clarkson, of course, will not be playing in Montreal as he begins to serve a 10-game suspension. That would leave the Leafs with 11 forwards, but there is speculation that Frazer McLaren (finger) will be placed on long-term injured reserve, allowing the club to recall Troy Bodie from the Marlies.

Carlyle said he will use a lineup against Montreal that has 12 forwards and six defencemen. McLaren, Carlyle said, is still “a ways” away from returning to action.

There was no word on whether the starting goalie would be James Reimer or Jonathan Bernier, but Carlyle likely will take into consideration that Reimer has four wins in his career against the Canadiens, including two shutouts.

All six Leafs who were placed on waivers on Sunday — goalie Drew MacIntyre, defencemen John-Michael Liles, T.J. Brennan and Korbinian Holzer and forwards Trevor Smith and Bodie — cleared. The Leafs did not claim any players off waivers.


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