Any time Morgan Rielly steps on the ice, all the eyes in the rink tend to lock on him, but during the home opener last Friday, he was being watched especially close by his new boss, Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.
Burke was in town to check up on the team's fifth overall pick as Rielly kicks off his third junior hockey season with the Moose Jaw Warriors and he says the Leafs will be keeping an eye on their top prospect this season.
"We have three player development guys and they're going to be in here a lot. We've got Jim Hughes, we've got Steve Staios -- who just joined us after a 16 year NHL career -- and we've got Bobby Carpenter, so these are all guys who are going to be in Moose Jaw, or catching Morgan on the road," explained Burke. "If we're not playing, I intend to be in here a fair amount to see him play. We invest a lot in player development."
Burke sees Rielly as a steal as the fifth overall pick and says it isn't a matter of if, but when he'll be in the NHL, "I'm not sure he needs anything but time. This is a guy in my mind that there is no question he's going to play (in the NHL) and his prospect camp with us was so strong that I think our coach was thinking he might be ready to play this year."
The NHL lockout changed those plans, but Burke says he's comfortable that Rielly will continue to develop this season with the Warriors, "It was part of the discussion we had when we were talking about drafting Morgan, is he in a good program? Yes, Moose Jaw is a good program. Is this the right coach to develop him? Yes.
"I have a great deal of respect for Mike (Stothers). This is a guy that I watched turn Bobby Ryan into a hockey player in Owen Sound. I think he's an excellent coach, I think he teaches a professional style and a professional approach to the game in the weight room and conditioning and nutrition. I think when you get a kid that played for Mike Stothers, you get a kid who's going to be ready."
As for what Burke likes about Rielly, he says the blue print is there for a very successful NHL player, "His character is very important to us. He's an intelligent hockeyplayer, he has a really high hockey IQ, he has a high IQ off the ice, he's coachable, he listens, he's a good teammate, he's a leader, and these are all things that are important to us.
"This guy has the whole package. He can skate, he makes intelligent decisions, he makes safe decisions, he's good offensively, he's good defensively, he plays in every situation, so I think it's just going to take time."
Any Warrior fan can tell you about Rielly's vision on the ice and Burke says that is one of the things that really stands out to him when he watches Rielly play, "I've had some great defenceman play for me, I had Scott Neidemeyer and Chris Pronger, and they always viewed an outlet pass as their first obligation. They move the puck and then get open, you only lug the puck when you don't have options, and that's what Morgan does. If he's got an option, he moves the puck and then moves up the ice and tries to get it back. That's key to us because that's a guy who's unselfish."
Rielly put on a good show for Burke in the home opener, picking up an assist in the Warriors' 4-3 overtime win over the Broncos. He also scored the Warriors' only goal in a 7-1 loss to the Broncos the next night.
The Warriors are practicing at Mosaic Place this week as they get set to head to Prince Albert on Friday for their first meeting of the season with the Raiders. They'll be back home on Saturday to host the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Leafs' GM Brian Burke joined James Gallo and Derek Kletzel on the Country 100 broadcast during the home opener.
Dustin Usher was one of those who were unlucky enough to have their vehicles break through the ice at Buffalo Pound. This particular vehicle
Aaron Ruston of Purposed Financial While most of us enjoy the lower prices at the gas pumps, investors and those who make their living in t
With less than a week to go until Christmas, the Moose Jaw Salvation Army is feeling blessed. There has been a great outpouring of sup
It's been a welcome Health Care addition to the Five Hills Health Region. And not just to officials, but to patients. The Crescent
Keep your vehicles off Buffalo Pound Lake. That message from the RCMP and Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management, following
Two people are facing numerous Fraud-related, Theft and Possession of Stolen Property charges after an investigation prompted by the rec
Traffic was diverted for several hour Wednesdy following a collision between a semi-trailer unit and a train at the intersection of 9th Av
The goal: fifty-thousand dollars in 50 days. The result: over 62-thousand dollars raised for Hunger In Moose Jaw's "I Bought A Lunch" ca
Moose Jaw city councillors and employees have heard many "talk the talk" when it comes to the city's budget. Now, they're letting us "
As budget talks start in Moose Jaw, infrastructure is dominating the early conversations and just like in years past, there is a major sho
As the National Hockey League tries to contain an outbreak of the mumps amongst players, the local Five Hills Health Region is also taking
Despite some rivers and lakes being just fine, anglers are being reminded to be very cautious when going ice fishing this winter. A 76
City Counselors listen to the Operating and Capital Budgets at City Hall Monday night. It looks like the City of Moose Jaw is going deeper
Al Rossler(left), member of Knights of Columbus, presents a cheque for $1500 to Jeff Fox(centre), CEO of Moose Jaw YMCA. The Moose Jaw YMCA
With the holiday break fast approaching, members of Moose Jaw City Council have new stack of paperwork to start reading. The 2015 Operat
We've got another morning of icy conditions around Moose Jaw. That freezing drizzle has been falling off and on for more than 24 hours n
The Assiniboia RCMP are seeking assistance in locating 76 year old John Rustad of Bengough, Saskatchewan. On the morning of Dece
A picture of the nativity scene from Doug Nimegeers front lawn. For Moose Jaw resident Doug Nimegeers, it was nothing short of a Christmas
There was a two-vehicle collision that occurred Monday afternoon, likely caused by the icy roads. Moose Jaw Police and Fire Crews responded
Freezing rain is causing several problems on southern Saskatchewan highways Monday afternoon. Icy higwhways have reduced traffic speeds
Cathy Bassett, Public Education Officer with the Fire Department. With the holiday season coming up, that means that people will want to ke
A concept photo of the new Donor Wall that will be going up inside the new Regional Hospital being built in Moose Jaw. It was certainly a b
Shelly Howe, one of the organizers for the First Night New Years Eve celebration. If you and your family are stuck for ideas this New Years
Hunger is something that is all too familiar to many children in the city of Moose Jaw. That is where Hunger in Moose Jaw steps in to
Producers around Moose Jaw are being reminded about a recycling day for grain bags and twine coming up next week. The Moose Jaw River Wat