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Morgan Rielly’s Journey to Become Maple Leafs’ Greatest D-Man

Morgan Rielly’s story as a defenseman with the Toronto Maple Leafs represents a historical past of persistent enchancment and dedication. Since his time with the crew, he’s advanced from a promising rookie to a linchpin of the crew’s defensive corps.

Related: Maple Leafs Resisting Urge to Coast into the Playoffs

Rielly Was Picked Fifth Overall within the 2012 NHL Entry Draft

Selected fifth total within the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Rielly’s arrival in Toronto created optimism amongst Maple Leafs followers. He got here at a time when the crew was hungry for a resurgence. While being in comparison with a number of of the Maple Leafs’ esteemed blueliners of the previous, Rielly has grown and flourished with a crew that’s primarily based distant from his house province of British Columbia.

He’s now develop into a mainstay with the Toronto group. As an on and off-ice chief, he carries himself properly and represents the crew in one of many hottest hockey markets within the NHL. It could be a shock if the crew ever moved him; and, in consequence, there’s a great likelihood he’ll end his profession with the Blue & White.

Rielly’s Growth as a Maple Leafs Player Has Been Steadily Upward

In his inaugural NHL season (2013-14), Rielly confirmed flashes of offensive brilliance, hinting at his potential as a franchise cornerstone. As the Maple Leafs launched into a roster overhaul with important younger gamers being drafted who’ve improved the crew, Rielly’s position expanded, and his contributions grew to become more and more pivotal.

Morgan Rielly Maple Leafs UD

The pivotal 2017-18 marketing campaign marked a major turning level in Rielly’s trajectory. Setting profession highs with 52 factors, he emerged as a defensive anchor. At the identical time, he solidified his fame as a two-way pressure. Although Toronto didn’t advance previous the primary spherical, Rielly’s standout efficiency carried into the playoffs. This success helped to affirm his skill to raise his recreation on the most troublesome time of the season.

However, the 2018-19 season cemented Rielly’s standing among the many league’s elite defensemen. By accumulating a formidable 72 factors, he confirmed his offensive energy whereas incomes the Norris Trophy consideration for his defensive prowess. Rielly’s management on and off the ice grew to become indispensable to the crew’s hopes of rising right into a perennial contender.

Rielly Has Remained a Model for Consistency and Leadership

Despite encountering accidents, Rielly has remained a mannequin of consistency for the Maple Leafs. His offensive output stays strong; and, though he’s not recognized for his defensive energy, he’s persevering with to evolve in that space.

By the 2021-22 season, Rielly had ascended to the higher echelon of the NHL’s elite defensemen. Leading the Maple Leafs’ blue liners with 68 factors, he’s come to epitomize the form of offensive playmaker the crew had hoped it might get after they drafted him. He’s additionally mentored youthful gamers and has develop into a revered chief within the locker room.

Morgan Rielly Toronto Maple Leafs
Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs

As the 2023-24 season unfolds, Rielly’s journey with the Maple Leafs continues to develop. Because each season with this constant contender carries playoff prospects, Rielly is a part of a crew that seeks to push its success into the postseason. As such, Rielly’s story with the crew stays unfinished. Should he develop into a part of a Stanley Cup-winning squad, there’s a great likelihood he’ll cement his title into the historical past of Toronto hockey.

Could he quickly be hailed as the best defenseman in Maple Leafs historical past? His numbers, in contrast with the good defensemen who got here earlier than him, are pulling nearer collectively. Only time will inform the place his story ends. He may in the future see his title beside the good Borje Salming as one of the best in franchise historical past.

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs 6-4 Win Over the Panthers


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