By Christian Button
Don’t get misled by the title, no where in this article am, I going to say Morgan Rielly is the best defensemen in the league, but what I will say is that he is becoming what he was projected to be, a true #1 elite defensemen. Yes, Rielly still does have a long way before he is deemed an “elite” defenseman, but for the Leafs he is becoming exactly what they hoped for when they drafted him back in 2012 in the first round. Rielly is in the top 3 of defensemen point leaders with 30 points just 1 point behind Ottawa Senators defensemen Thomas Chabot.
Last year Rielly had 6 goals, 46 assists which is a combined 52 points in 76 games played. Currently he has 9 goals and 21 assists, so already passing his goal totals from last year in only 28 games, to me that’s very impressive for a young defenseman. Rielly still has ways to go before becoming a true number one defensemen in the league.
Don’t forget that Rielly who still is only 24 years of age is currently on a very team friendly contract at just 5 mil AAV for the next 4 years. Having a defenseman of his caliber with that contract makes it an absolute steal for the Leafs, especially with having to sign Matthews and Marner this off season it makes it that much easier to keep the core of the Leafs together.
You don’t find defenseman like Rielly that often in the draft or even being available for trade, so the fact that the Leafs have him signed at such a good price makes it all that much better.