Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Morgan Rielly Looks to Make His Mark at Camp

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Maple Leafs Prospect Morgan Rielly Looks to Make His Mark at Camp

Article excerpt

Rielly looks to make his mark at camp


TORONTO - Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle is comfortable with the idea of giving a top prospect a shot with the big club.

When he was a head coach in Anaheim in 2010, Cam Fowler was given a chance to play and quickly cemented a spot on the Ducks' blue-line. Morgan Rielly is hoping to take a similar path to the NHL with the Maple Leafs.

The six-foot-one, 200-pound defenceman has looked solid over the first two days of training camp.

"The one thing is he's been a quick study, he's been a kid who's been able to absorb a lot in a short period of time," Carlyle said Monday. "He's played in some pressure situations and we're looking at playing him to his strengths."

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for the 18-year-old Vancouver native.

He averaged nearly a point a game with the Western Hockey League's Moose Jaw Warriors before joining the Canadian team that finished fourth at the world junior hockey championship in Ufa, Russia.

Rielly returned to North America and took part in some informal skates at the Leafs' practice rink before the collective bargaining agreement was ratified. The fifth overall pick in last year's draft is definitely in game shape after a busy few months.

Whether he's ready for the rigours of games at the NHL level is the big question. Carlyle said the short training camp and lack of pre-season games make things a little more challenging.

"I can remember playing Cam Fowler in every exhibition game," Carlyle said. "Most coaches would play their young players -- if they had a chance to make their hockey club -- you'd give them every opportunity to prove to you they could. And right now we're not afforded that with (four) days left of practice.

"We only have a very short period of time so that magnifies the assessment. He's a very skilled young man."

Fowler, who was also drafted in the first round, was 18 when he cracked the Anaheim roster. He had 40 points in his rookie campaign and followed it up with a 29-point season in 2011-12. …

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