Maple Leafs draft pick Morgan Rielly learns about life in blue-and-white fishbowl
If nothing else, Morgan Rielly will have a lasting memory of his first Maple Leafs rookie camp.
All he has to do is check that chipped front tooth in the mirror. Half of it is gone, lost during a scrimmage last week when a puck deflected into his face.
Welcome to the Leafs, kid. Rielly didnít leave the game (although he did have corrective dental work done after it). As a matter of fact, he picked up an assist in that game as he tried to make a positive first impression.
ďItís been a pretty big change from playing in Moose Jaw, Sask., but itís been neat for an 18-year-old kid to experience,Ē said Rielly. ďThere are people who have approached me, asking for my picture, which is all new to me.
ďBut I havenít changed. Iíve been training in the gym, hanging out. Iím just flattered to have had the opportunity.Ē
Such is life in the fishbowl that comes with being a high draft pick of the Maple Leafs. But thereís a sense Rielly isnít going to feel the pressure to perform that Luke Schenn went through four years ago when he was picked No. 5 overall, or that Nazem Kadri feels to this day having been No. 7 three years ago.
The Leafs, perhaps because their talent is a tad younger than in the recent past, seem quite ready let their draft picks take their time. Certainly defenceman Stuart Percy and winger Tyler Biggs ó both first-round selections in 2011 ó have been able to develop quietly.