Earlier in the summer, Mike Reilly let it be known that he was leaving college hockey and intended to become an unrestricted free agent after being drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011. Columbus is still in the mix, though they now have to contend with eight other teams vying for his services. According to Bob McKenzie, the Montreal Canadiens are one of them.
So who exactly is Mike Reilly?
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft out of Shattuck St. Mary's Midget Prep School, Reilly looked like a long shot prospect at first, heading to the BCHL for a year before going to college, Reilly scored like a phenom, but it was a lower league.
When Reilly joined the University of Minnesota, his career really took off, to the point where this past season he led his team in scoring (and shots on goal), and put up over a point per game. Reilly is a left handed defenseman who has grown to about 6'1", and 183 pounds.
In 2013, Corey Pronman reviewed Reilly as such:
The Good: When you think of Mike Reilly, you think of a defenseman with upside, plain and simple. At any given moment, he can pull off a highlight reel play. He is a high-end skater, puck handler, and passer. His footwork is good, as he glides well after each step. He has a powerful stride, as well as excellent top speed. Reilly's creativity is top notch; he has the ability to see teammates in difficult spots and he can make plays through tight lanes.
The Bad: Reilly is still a bit of a work in progress. His defensive play can leave a bit to be desired in terms of his positioning. Due to his aggressive offensive nature, he can open his team up to counterattacks a tad too much. He will make stops, as well as have some good defensive games, but when he is off in his own end, he is clearly off. He also still has a slight frame, meaning he can be outmatched physically.
Reilly looks like a dynamic offensive defenseman, especially in regards to playmaking. Based on his profile, he's likely one of those guys whose defensive problems are a little overestimated because of his style of play.
Based on the Canadiens' serious lack of depth in terms of left handed defensemen, it's no surprise that they're interested in him, though it seems like he would want a shot at the NHL, and the Canadiens have a logjam on defense if ever there was one at the pro level, which means Marc Bergevin would need to move out bodies.