23. Yes, I’m aware that isn’t the number up in in title, but I think that makes it all the more amazing. Isn’t it crazy to be so young, yet so talented? Think back Leaf fans… when was the last time we had a true number one defensemen? And I don’t mean guys like Dion, and Kaberle. As good as they both were, neither were a number one guy, they were merely forced into that spot. But really think back to the time where we had a guy that could do it all. Skate, shoot, defend, pass, and above all, lead. I think this is the time, neigh, I know its the time for 44. This is the time for it to all come together, the age where for d-man it all seems to “click”. Yes, I am talking about none other than 44 himself. Morgan Reilly.
It’s just something about the age of 23-24 for defensemen. I couldn’t tell you why it is this age, and frankly I don’t think anyone really does. But when you look back, this age is where players really start to take their stride. Now, I’m not saying some players don’t become good earlier or later. But this is the age where this man is going to take flight, and flourish as a number one guy.
Ron Hainsey. No, he is not the man of the hour, but this man is going to be influential on the young stud this season. Now, it’s not as if Reilly hasn’t played with respected veterans in the past. Reilly has played along side the likes of Dion Phaneuf, Roman Polak, Matt Hunwick, and so forth. However, as great and well respected as these guys are, there is one simple and clear thing these guys don’t have, and that’s a ring. That ring, as small as it seems, is huge. Massive even. No matter how good you think you are, the ring means so much more. You’ve been there, you’ve done it. It’s the toughest trophy in sports to win, and seeing this guy with one, well, this is going to rub off on the young one.
No one can deny Reilly’s greatest asset, and that is he can skate. Since he was drafted fifth overall in 2012, scouts would always praise his ability to skate. Ever since he entered the NHL, his skating was never an issue. He has always been a great puck mover, and personally, I wanna see this guy on the power play. I watched him be the quarterback this pre-season, and when you put him out there with Matthews, Nylander, Brown, and Marleau damn. There is simply no player in this league who wants to go out with that crew. I can agree, not the scariest shot, but honestly, this man can still shoot the puck, and I expect more from him this year.
This young Leafs team is looking to make the next step, and most of the question lie on the back end. If the Leafs are to make any noise this year it is going to come on this man. Jake Gardiner, and Nikita Zaitsev are huge parts of this young core as well, however, if you ask any fan, they will tell you who they want leading the way. The points may say that one man is better than the other, but this guy is a born leader. This is the year leaf fans. No I’m not saying the cup parade will be in June, but Morgan Reilly is ready for the challenge and mark my words, it is time for the leafs to have a true number one guy. And that guy is 44 himself. Morgan Reilly, it’s your turn.