This is the year. No Hainsey. No Ceci. No Zaitsev. No Hunwick. No Polak. It’s Brodie time for Morgan Rielly. A real top pairing partner.
If we look back at the defensemen that Morgan Rielly has played with the most over the past three years, in order it’s been Ron Hainsey, and Cody Ceci as his most consistent partners, and outside of Jake Gardiner there hasn’t really been someone we’ve seen Rielly with that is considered good. That’s terrifying for anyone, let alone the defenseman that you consider the best in your organization.
That leads us to Morgan Rielly’s number. Rielly’s number is 517. Rielly has played 517 games for the Leafs, most of those games as the top defenseman, a role that many will still consider him to be occupying even though his supporting cast of Jake Muzzin and T.J. Brodie is the best he’s ever had.
While there is reasons for optimism around the defense being either good or adequate for the first time in a number of years, there is still a lot to consider on the blueline, and one of those things is the part where we come to …
Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation