Recently it has been hard to be a Leafs fan. The team has been terrible and so have the stars. What’s worse is that it has become so dismal that real, actual positives – like the ascension of Nazem Kadri to the role of #1 Centre or the good things that have happened since Peter Horachek was hired – have been hidden by the onslaught of losing.
There is, however, one positive that cannot be overlooked and which almost everyone agrees upon: Morgan Rielly. The guy is not just good, but he’s fun to watch. And, somehow, he has escaped almost unscathed during what has been easily the worst Leafs season since of the 21st Century – and probably in the running for all-time recognition (which considering the team, says A Lot!).
Rielly has escaped the rancor of Leafs Nation because of his youth and upside – he’s a 20 year-old sophomore after all, and one who was a fifth over-all selection just three drafts ago.
While we have come to the realization that Phaneuf and Kessel are better additions than cornerstones, we now look to the future of Morgan Rielly, Nazem Kadri and William Nylander with great enthusiasm – at least anyone not completely blinded and/or blindsided by the recent losing does.
I think people forget that the Leafs don’t have to go through a painful Edmonton-Style rebuild because the Leafs already have some pieces in place and some very good assets to get more – again, the losing can understandably blind you. So, I will shut up. I won’t prattle on with stats, comparisons or “crazy theories,” at least not today. I’ll just leave you with three clips that will hopefully get your spirits up by showing you that there is great hope for the future of this team.
Because Morgan Rielly is awesome.
This beauty was from Saturday night in Edmonton and was – in my not at all biased opinion – the goal of the year.
He scored twice last night against the Rangers, and though not as nice as Saturday’s, still pretty sweet.
Hopefully that got your spirits up.
Thanks for reading.
Covering the Leafs for the Hockey Writers.