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Morgan Rielly Signs Eight-Year Extension

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The Toronto Maple Leafs and the general manager, Kyle Dubas, just keep spending money on massive contracts for star players. Locking down Morgan Rielly for the next eight seasons with an average annual cap hit of 7.5 million dollars. The 27-year-old is the Maple Leafs best defenseman and a fan favorite of the club. Having him for the long haul is a great idea for the team as he is a terrific two-way defenseman that produces more than 40 points a season while playing lockdown defense and being a leader on the Maple Leafs sporting the “A” as an assistant captain of the club. 

Morgan Rielly Career Overview

Drafted fifth overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft Morgan Rielly began his NHL career as a highly-touted prospect. Fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs would not have to wait too long to see his hype turn into reality. Beginning in the 2013-14season, Rielly would start his NHL career. He played in 73 games scoring just two goals but had 25 assists as a nineteen-year-old. He followed up his strong rookie campaign by playing in 81 games during the 2014-15 season. He improved his goal scoring to eight goals on the season to go along with 21 assists. His third season continued to see yet more improvement as he played in all 82 games producing nine goals and 27 assists. Unfortunately, Rielly saw a dip in production during the 2016-17 season. At 22 years old, Rielly played in his fourth NHL season, scoring six goals and 21 assists in 76 games. 

Fortunately, for Maple Leafs fans Rielly would recover from the down season by scoring six goals and 46 assists in 76 games during the 2017-18 season as a 23-year-old. The best was yet to come as the very next season Rielly scored a career-high 20 goals and 52 assists for 72 points in 82 games. His seventh season in the league was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 47 games Rielly scored three goals and 24 assists. The next season was also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic as the NHL shortened the season and began the season in January. He played 55 games scoring five goals and 30 assists. So far this season he has played eight games so far, producing four assists.

How Does Morgan Rielly Effect the Maple Leafs?

As the Maple Leafs’ best defenseman, Rielly gets loads of playing time for the club. So far in the 2021-22 NHL season, Rielly has averaged more than 24 minutes on ice during each game. Playing nearly half the game shows just how valuable of an asset Rielly is to the club. While the stat of plus/minus is not always the most reliable stat in Rielly’s case his rating of +2 shows that while he is on the ice his team is scoring more goals than they are allowing while Rielly is on the ice. This positive figure shows that Rielly’s impact on the defensive side of the ice is felt as he is able to shut down the top players on opposing teams he matches up against every game. Furthermore playing alongside Travis Dermott, Timothy Liljegren, and Rasmus Sandin on the Maple Leafs back end, Rielly is able to show these young up-and-coming players the ropes to be a quality player in the NHL.  

How Do the Maple Leafs Manage Yet Another Large Contract?

The stress that general manager Kyle Dubas must be under is insurmountable as he now has six players taking up more than 65% of the cap space the Maple Leafs have to spend on their roster next season and for many years down the line. Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Auston Mathews, John Tavares, Jake Muzzin and now Mike Rielly will all be making over five and a half million dollars. While each of these players are great players to build a roster around, the Maple Leafs have almost no money to build the rest of their roster. A player such as Alexander Kerfoot will have to be traded if Kyle Dubas wants to keep his core intact while fielding a competitive team. 

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Clancy Golden is one of the biggest hockey fans in the world. He loves writing and watching the beautiful sport of hockey.