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.
The future of Moose Jaw's Hyperbaric Chamber will be discussed at city council tonight. Dr. David Amies, who has worked with the chambe
Police buckled down on those not buckled up properly in March. SGI's traffic safety focus last month was on occupant restraints. Police
Moose Jaw Parks and Recreation is starting to prepare for summertime as they are pumping out the Phylis Dewar Pool today. Kelly Mentanko,
Have you found a little yellow duck in the last few days? Brad Stewart hopes so. Stewart, along with wife Sandra, are touting the "Litt
The City of Moose Jaw is still tallying the damage from last month's flood and is working on plans to apply to the government for Provinci
Details are limited at this point but we've learned of a four vehicle crash at the south end of the 9th Avenue NW Bridge this morning. Ca
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came together last week to sign a h
Palliser Member of Parliament Ray Boughen and his colleges from across the country are back in Ottawa this week following their spring bre
It's a walk to support those with MS, and Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates of the disease in the country. The Blue Cross' MS walk
Yesterday morning around 8 am, Moose Jaw Police were called to assist EMS with an apparent problem. Sgt. Cliff Froehlich says that once t
Sask Polytechnic hosted the Worksafe Saskatchewan street team on Thursday afternoon, featuring guest speaker Curtis Weber. The Worksafe S
Saturday marks the last day of Emergency Telecommunicators Week in Saskatchewan. Moose Jaw's Shelley Harms has been a Communications
River Valley residents affected by last month's flooding will have a chance to recoup their flood cleanup costs. The provincial government
Sask Polytechnic hosted the Provincial Skills Competition this Thursday and Friday. It's an Olympic-style competition for secondary, post-
One persons trash is another persons treasure. That saying is never more true than at this time of year when Garage sales spring up acro
After contract talks, that date back to December 2014, failed... an arbitration ruling has brought and end to a contract dispute between t
A few area businesses were recognized at the 26th annual Sask Tourism Awards of Excellence. The Grant Hall Dining Room won Rookie of Th
The Moose Jaw Music Festival starts tonight. Vocal competitions will begin this evening at the Art Museum Theatre, with band performance
The 31st annual Invitational Dance Carnival kicked off yesterday at Peacock Collegiate, and is playing host to more than 1,200 dancers fro
The Council of Canadians stopped in Moose jaw Thursday night with their “Energy East – Our Risk, Their Reward” tour. The group opp
A well known Moose Jaw woman has been selected to receive the province's highest honour. Yvette Moore, famous local artist, will be one of
Speeding is still an issue at this photo speed enforced zone on Highway 1 and 9th Avenue as well as in the Palliser Heights and William Gray
A group of students participating in the 17th Annual Saskatchewan Provincial Skills Competition The 17th annual Saskatchewan Provincial Ski
From left: Tim Mcleod - Vice-Chair, Shawn Davidson - Chair of the Board, and Tony Baldwin - Director of Education They called it a “lear
They were hoping to get a couple more years out of it before a major redesign of the cooling system at the PlaMor Palace but unfortunately