Realistically, What Can Morgan Rielly Become at this Point?

Discussion in 'Toronto Maple Leafs' started by GlitchMarner, Aug 20, 2017.

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  1. GlitchMarner

    GlitchMarner Formerly 29GoalHoglund

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    He obviously didn't have his best season ever.

    I'm a Rielly fan and I think he still has a lot of potential. It's a question of what type of player he can/will become.

    It's obvious Babcock's tried to mold him into a more complete or even defense-oriented player, and the results so far aren't too encouraging, although he's still young and at an age where he can be expected to continue improving.


    I think his puck-handling and moving skills are somewhat underrated. People talk about his speed and it's an obvious strength of his. But in the two seasons prior to his most recent one, there were numerous times where he quite impressed me with his poise with the puck and ability to make plays (especially in the offensive zone).


    I think that at the very least, he can be a very good puck-moving defenseman who can play in the top four of a good team. I'm not sure he can or will be a legitimate top-two defenseman on a team that doesn't have a true number one.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  2. Hoverhand

    Hoverhand Leafs in 7

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    He showed flashes of brilliance towards the end of the season and against the Capitals.
    if he can do that over an 82 game season, well we have our future number 1.

    At this point its just a waiting game for me, if by game 40 he's the same old Rielly then we'll know he's pretty much topped out.
     
  3. LoovTrain

    LoovTrain Stanley... Come Home

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    Realistically?

    A number-one defenceman.
     
  4. GlitchMarner

    GlitchMarner Formerly 29GoalHoglund

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    Well, I think my first post may have been a little short-sighted.

    If we consider the best 31 defensemen in the League "number one defensemen," then I definitely think he can be a number one D.

    I'm not sure he can or will be a top 15-20 D, although it is possible. Guys like Subban and Keith took years to hit their peaks.
     
  5. SeaOfBlue

    SeaOfBlue No Leaf Left Behind

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    A number 1. Besides being an elite, top end defenseman, that's really the only place he can go at this point unless he regresses.
     
  6. SAMCRO44

    SAMCRO44 Registered User Sponsor

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    A very good #2
     
  7. NarcoPolo

    NarcoPolo Registered User

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    A top pairing d.
     
  8. TheCLAM

    TheCLAM Registered User

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    Well he played most of last season with a high ankle sprain.

    He's already a solid #3D - his upside is a top-pairing defenseman. Gardiner took a while to develop - the same patience needs to be applied to Rielly.
     
  9. Monsieur Gustave H

    Monsieur Gustave H Coming Home

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    He has yet to impress me outside of the World Championships, World Cup and last years playoffs.

    Favours skating over positioning in the defensive zone, leading to him scrambling around trying to do too much himself, has yet to gel with any defensive partner (albeit they've mostly been trash), and plays very difficult minutes that are clearly beyond his capabilities.

    His ability to move the puck up ice is excellent. But god forbid he enters the zone with the puck and a full head of steam because he'll just curl behind the net like he always does and hope a teammate created their own shooting lane in the slot, which really only Auston Matthews is capable of.

    I would like to see him receive more PP minutes, (but with his muffin shot that seems unlikely) simplify his defensive zone play and learn some offensive creativity.

    Gardiner has made tremendous gains after two years under Babcock, it's time Rielly does too.
     
  10. Muston Atthews

    Muston Atthews Bunch of Bangerz

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    If we can get a good top 4 "defensive" d man to play with him I see him exploding offensively
     
  11. A1LeafNation

    A1LeafNation Tavares Strong!!!

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    Rielly is better than Duncan Keith at age 22.

    Rielly can become a 50 point #1 two-way all around dman.
     
  12. Nithoniniel

    Nithoniniel Registered User

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    I'd say the likely projection at this point is a more refined version of what he is now. Someone who can dominate on a second pairing, but would need an equal player on a top pairing. But there's still an upside that is more along the lines of a #1 D-man.
     
  13. Battle Lin

    Battle Lin Registered User

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    23 is still very young for a player, its even younger for a D

    gardiner didnt improve to a good 2-3 til now at 26-27
    keith wasnt great at 23
    josi broke out at 24
    letang at 24 too
    burns wasnt the burns now in his early 20s

    these next 2 seasons are big for rielly, especially this coming one, we all know he can skate and has strong work ethic and character to put it all together...even if the jump isnt what we hope for, hes already a solid 2-3 D
     
  14. firstemperor

    firstemperor Registered User

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    He's pretty much in the same boat as Risto.

    Being played in over his head on a team that puts a lot of pressure on their back-end- so he looks worst as such. People need to realize the Leafs play a very aggressive forechecking style- not a trap oriented system like the Preds and Sens play.

    Rielly is one of the best rushing d-men in the league but he's not a high-end d-man, right now, in terms of winning possession and preventing scoring chance against top-flight competition.

    Realistically, he still has top pairing D upside. In fact, he might already be a top-pairing PMD right now if he had a high-end D partner. He's never going to be a #1D that can carry a pairing defensively.
     
  15. GLOO

    GLOO Registered User

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    I think he will be an slightly above average 2nd pairing dman. Besides his straightaway speed there is nothing that he shows he is above average in.

    1. Passing - not a lot of vision...he can distribute ok if not under pressure...but not threading a needle (saucer pass, through legs and sticks, hail Mary players out of our zone to streaking forwards)

    2. Shot - not much to speak of - well below average slap shot...in fact I don't remember any goals he has scored on a slap shot; his shot working the point mostly consists of flicking the puck in hopes of it hitting some legs or getting deflected in by accident. I don't know how you become a labeled "offensive" dman without a slap shot. Almost every top scoring dman in the NHL has some kind of slap shot (Karlsson, Subban, Weber, Suter, Keith, Josi, Doughty, Giordano, OEL) all have some semblance of an ability to one time it or get a good slap shot at the net.

    3. Skating - decent in a straight line but he is no powerhouse. When skating with the puck however he mostly skates himself to the side where he usually gets squeezed out or he is about to be checked so he throws it blindly in the slot in hopes of someone getting to it.

    4. Stick handling -- below average..in fact it is one of his weak points. He will never fool anybody with his stick handling-- mostly just pushes the puck forward and a few 2 feet back and forth movements. That play where he beat 2 Oilers including a toe drag and then roofed it is like a one time deal...besides that rush I have never ever seen him fool anybody with stick work.

    5. Defensive play? His poor habits of lunging at the puck trying to break up a play results in many odd man rushes for the other team. He is not aware of how to close gaps or when to be aggressive in the puck retrieval process. His worse habits by far have to do with puck watching in his own zone and not taking out the main in front of the net. I have given many examples of this in the past; I have counted at least 5 games where he was caught like a bystander watching the puck being passed around and the guy right beside him will score totally untouched. This guy will never be a defensive minded d man. I believe if you can't master this simple important task by the time you are in the league 4 years...you just don't have the right mindset.

    I will of course get a lot of haters who will attack me on these points but I really really do not see Rielly as someone particularly talented in terms of skill and I especially do not see a defensive IQ on this kid. Babcock can drum him up all he wants but I don't know how much credence I give to our coach's ability to judge real talent or to really teach these guys how to play defence. We had one of the worse goals against records in the league last year. The only reason we made the playoff is because of our 4 kids who infused a lot of offence last year (Matthews, Marner, Nylander, Brown) - and of course Gardiner who showed a glimpse of what he could be. Most shocking is not just how many goals we had scored against us -- especially 5 on 5... but how we let those goals in at the last few minutes of play to relinquish the lead. I don't have the stats, but we most have lead the league in giving up leads in the 3rd period and especially in the dying minutes and in OT. This is because Babcock can't teach these guys how to think defense. In terms of judging talent, he puts Zaitsev and Rielly on together as shut down guys and that in itself tells me he is not particularly apt in choosing defensive talent.

    Getting back to Rielly, I think we are best served in putting Rielly on 2nd pairing with a solid veteran who can guide him. One that will take care of the front of the net and let Rielly run around in the corners. The problem is Zaistsev I believe is just a right handed version of Rielly with a slightly better slap shot. Other than that, he is exactly what Rielly is - slightly above average offense; good straight away speed with no real puck moving skills; extremely poor at defending his zone in front of the net; no ability to hammer the puck at the net.

    Ok...bring on the haters.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2017
  16. Mikeyg

    Mikeyg Registered User

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    I question the true potential of this thread. I think there is a hidden agenda here to promote the "leafs d sucks" rhetoric. Players develop all throughout their careers, anyone who says that rielly can't become a all league number 1 is just bs'ing. He isn't even close to falling off physically, and babs has a lot to still teach him from a fundamentals/mental standpoint. Hes got the capacity to be much better. Right now hes a low end number 1, but he'll improve a lot this year. Should be dominant by christmas as some might say.

    edit: now theres people saying hes a 2nd pair d-man. lmao give your head a shake. All I had to look at was your assessment of his skating to know that you are full of ****.
     
  17. Polaris1010

    Polaris1010 Registered User

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    Tend to agree with your observations.

    Rielly is still a very young defenseman, as he is still learning the defensive of the game. In his career in Toronto, he has been average, which is really good.

    Basically, he's been thrown to the wolves since day 1, and he's still going alright. When Gardiner was thrown to the wolves, it kind of showed more, but over time Gardiner has improved a lot, at both ends of the ice too.

    The problem with the Leafs defense, is the forwards. The problem is that there is not one breakdown, often there is 2 or 3 forwards who have blown their coverage because of whatever reason.

    If you're a defenseman on the Leafs, and the other team has 3 guys open because the center and wingers got beat or did not care enough, well then, you being a Leafs defenseman, is already beat too. A few of those Washington goals in the playoffs were kind of like that. That was the playoffs too.

    Notice how Zaitsev, started to play deeper and deeper in the slot on a rush. Sometimes if the Leafs have numbers coming back, then he tries to hold the blueline. Most of the time like 80% or more, he will stand there in the high slot defending an oncoming rush, because the puck is coming to the slot or behind him in a dump in.

    Reilly does not try to play like that. He thinks the forwards will come back. When that does not happen, which is 90% of the time for some lines, then he's beat too.

    That's why the Hainsey signing is huge, because he's a winner, and he's played on a lot of bad teams, which tend to play like the Leafs without the puck.

    That's why I do not think JVR and Bozak have a future in Toronto with Babcock as coach. Babcock likes to have a playmaker with a digger to the get the puck back, as he always thinks of his forward lines in a pair like that. With one line last season, he did not even bother.

    A work in progress. If the forwards play better defense, Rielly be better too.
     
  18. Kurtz

    Kurtz Registered User

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    If, according to you, he has no shot, mediocre passing, poor stick handling and merely decent skating, then how is he able to consistently put up above average offense, given that he doesn't play on the PP?
     
  19. zeke

    zeke #freeVladdy

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    If he had been given more sheltered usage so far, and full PP duty, everyone would be calling him a sure fire #1 dman in the making.

    don't fret, mo is awesome.
     
  20. Polaris1010

    Polaris1010 Registered User

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    The Leafs have been a run and gun team for the the past decade.

    A lot of players have inflated numbers. If those players played on other teams, their point totals could be a lot lower.
     
  21. GlitchMarner

    GlitchMarner Formerly 29GoalHoglund

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    His stickhandling is not below average by any means, nor is it just average.

    I've seen him skate around forecheckers many times. He's no Bobby Orr, but the kid can handle the puck.

    I've also seen him carry the puck into the offensive zone and set up plays plenty of times...

    A couple of random instances that come to mind:

    I saw this play in person...

    Sam Carrick's first NHL goal:




    Matthews' hattrick goal in his debut game (watch from 1:25 to 1:35):

     
  22. GlitchMarner

    GlitchMarner Formerly 29GoalHoglund

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    I like Rielly. I didn't make the thread hoping people would bash him. I just want to discuss what his potential appears to be ATM.
     
  23. GlitchMarner

    GlitchMarner Formerly 29GoalHoglund

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    Conversely, if the Leafs were better defensively, he would have a easier time defending and his defensive play wouldn't be scrutinized as much.
     
  24. Kurtz

    Kurtz Registered User

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    Nope.

    In Babcock's first year, Rielly put up 36 points on a Leafs team that finished 3rd worst in scoring.

    How did he do it if his offensive skill set is sub-par in all respects?
     
  25. Joey Hoser

    Joey Hoser Registered User

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    Top pairing defenceman you can win with.

    Don't care to nitpick about being a #1 or a #2 or elite not.
     

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