Toronto Maple Leafs: Morgan Rielly Norris Candidate

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 19: Morgan Rielly
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 19: Morgan Rielly /

Toronto Maple Leafs Morgan Rielly is having himself quite the season so far. Currently on pace for his personal best season as a Toronto Maple Leaf in points.

Yes, he’s soaring and sometimes even flying over the ice, but no, this is not a reference or an intended pun towards a certain Disney movie. This is my favorite player on the blue-line of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Morgan Rielly.

Since Rielly was drafted fifth overall in 2012, Rielly has been the biggest defensive prospect of the Toronto Maple Leafs in quite a while. He quickly became one of the most beloved members on the roster among fans.

The Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman would undoubtedly be the best bet for the team’s vacant captaincy, if not for teammate Auston Matthews. Displaying mature behavior on and off the ice, people tend to forget he is just 23 years old.

Records are made to be broken

Assuming (and praying) that Morgan Rielly stays injury free this season, the question is not if but when he breaks his personal records this year. Something everyone expected him to during last season.

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Setting a career high for goals (9) and assists (29) for a career-high 36 points, during a year where the Toronto Maple Leafs would end up last in the league. The expectations were high for the following season, especially due to the joining of Matthews, Marner and Nylander.

Despite a fine season, he only notched 6 goals and 21 assists for a total of 27 points. Considering he wasn’t used on the power-play very much, this were actually decent totals. He would go on to record 5 points during the playoffs in 6 games, but still, the high expectations were not met.

This year, however, Rielly is simply put, dominating. With already 4 goals and 26 assists for a total of 30 points. He’s currently on pace for 56 points at the end of the season, where he will likely break both his record for goals and assists. In fact, he is just 1 assist away from tying his personal best per season for assists.

A Norris Trophy Candidate

His play and accumulation of points, has not gone unnoticed around the league. At the latest update from the NHL, Morgan Rielly is still a Norris Trophy candidate, Though he likely won’t win, for Rielly its recognition of his play so far this season.

Personally, I didn’t expect Rielly to be this dominating this season. His CF% is currently 51.35% against 49.81% two years ago.

When Babcock announced he would try Rielly with newly acquired veteran Ron Hainsey, I didn’t know what to expect. Ron Hainsey had a CF% of 49.96% last season, which is not the best or worst. However, signing a defenseman at the age of 36 as the partner for your top D is odd, to say the least.

Ron Hainsey has proven he was worthy of signing, heck he has proven to be important to the team.  But Hainsey is not a top pairing defenseman.  As good as he’s been, it would still be smart for the Toronto Maple Leafs to upgrade the partner of their best defenseman.

Future All-Star

Currently, Morgan Rielly is tied for sixth in points for the defenseman in the league, which is impressive. He has earned an all-star selection, although he isn’t expected to be selected (due to the rules rather than his play).

No worries, though. Morgan Rielly will become an All-Star one day. If not this season, then there is always next year for a new career-high season to force an invitation.

Next: What is Babcock Doing?


Morgan Rielly is awesome.

Thanks again for reading and please share your thoughts on Morgan Rielly and Ron Hainsey so far. And I am curious what your thoughts are on the selection process for the NHL All-Star game.

Stats from and Corsica