PITTSBURGH – Brian Burke told reporters his scouting staff was ecstatic with the pick of defenceman Morgan Rielly in the first round of the NHL entry draft.
Burke was not kidding.
Leafs director of amateur scouting Dave Morrison figures Rielly can one day join Jake Gardiner as a leader on the Toronto blue line.
“Speed and skill,” Morrison said late Friday night. “Parts of his game translate to the way the game is now – the speed, skill, hockey sense. He is not a really physical kid, but he is working on that part of it. He has that ability to get the puck out of your end in a variety of ways and can quarterback the power play.”
Morrison turned his attention to Saturday morning, when the Leafs will pick 35th overall with the fifth pick in the second round.
“Our list was a lot tighter than I thought it was going to be,” Morrison said. “I’m finding we have crossed a lot of names off. We still have some guys we like there, but also that it is a very moveable pick if we decide we want to do there.
“I’m not sure what we are going to do just yet. Go back to hotel and huddle up and look and see what is left on the table.”