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Get to Know a Maple Leaf: Morgan Rielly

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As part of the build-up to the first-round playoff series between the Capitals and the Maple Leafs, Japers' Rink will be looking at some of the important Leafs players and how they might impact the series.

NHL: Washington Capitals at Toronto Maple Leafs Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Morgan Rielly

#44 / Defense / Toronto Maple Leafs

Height: 6-1 | Weight: 215 | Born: March 9, 1994

Birthplace: Vancouver, BC. | Drafted: 2012 TOR, 1st round, 5th pick (5th overall)

  • Assets: Is a tremendous skater and possesses excellent instincts for the game. At times, he can act as a fourth forward on the ice. Also knows how to run a power play effectively. Can log huge minutes in the NHL.
  • Flaws: Could stand to continue getting stronger physically and also prove capable of effectively shutting down the National Hockey League's top scorers with regularity. Must also shoot the puck more.
  • Career Potential: Mobile, talented and big-minute defenseman with upside.
    (via The Hockey News)

Career 20-Game Rolling Five-on-Five CF% (via Corsica):

2016-17 Usage Chart (via Corsica):

Why you should know who he is: Morgan Rielly is Toronto’s defensive minute muncher. While his six goals and 27 points aren’t particularly strong offensive numbers, Rielly has the ability to constantly make his presence felt. Iced recently alongside offensive-minded Connor Carrick, Rielly is a smooth skater that is comfortable in his own defensive zone. At just 23, Rielly has kind of fallen under the radar as a talented, young defenseman, but he’s been a staple of this Leafs team for the last four seasons.

How the Caps can stop him: Rielly will have his hands full in this series considering he is going to see heavy doses of action against the Capitals’ top line. Alexander Ovechkin has been playing a particularly physical brand of hockey of late. While Rielly is comfortable with the puck on his stick and an excellent skater, knocking him around may be in the Capitals’ best interest.