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Leafs' first-round pick Rielly enjoying whirlwind summer

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TSN.ca Staff
8/29/2012 9:23:10 PM
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It's been a busy summer for Morgan Rielly.

After being selected fifth overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2012 NHL Draft, Rielly was selected to represent his country in the Canada/Russia Challenge and also competed in the Leafs' prospects camp.

At this point, the defenceman's focus is on preparing for what he hopes will be his first NHL training camp.

Despite the impending lockout, Rielly has been training as if there will be a camp and said he is hopeful that talks go well.

"I'm certainly hoping that the players come to an agreement," Rielly told Scott MacArthur on Mike Richards in the Morning on TSN Radio 1050.  "I understand it's not quite that easy, but I've been training hard and been skating a lot, so I'm certainly prepared to have a camp, but I'm not sure if it's going to happen."

The whirlwind of the past few months has presented different challenges and opportunities, but Rielly is trying to take it all in stride.

"I'm certainly not trying to change as a person, I've just been trying to enjoy it and it has been pretty cool," Rielly said when TSN Radio 1050 caught up with him from the NHLPA's Rookie Showcase in Toronto this week. "I've been treated a bit different, but I'm still me and haven't changed a whole lot as a person."

Coming off a serious knee injury that caused him to miss the majority of the 2011-12 season with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL, Rielly declared himself fully healthy and felt confident in the exhibition series against Russia.

"I feel good right now," Rielly said. "I was pretty happy to have a chance to play a couple of games over there and I've been training all offseason, so right now I'm healthy and I'm strong, so I feel good."

Getting a chance to compete at the Leafs' prospects camp, Rielly came away impressed at what Toronto's future has to offer. He said 2011 first-round pick Stuart Percy was among those that stood out to him.

"It was pretty cool to spend about a week out here with the prospects camp," Rielly said. "In terms of standouts, it's a pretty high-class group of players we have and they're all pretty good, but I'll say Percy was certainly one of the top players, and it was pretty cool to get the chance to play with him on the team for about a week."

The 18-year-old from Vancouver said he is not worried about the potential pressure and scrutiny that comes from playing in one of the world's biggest hockey markets.

"I couldn't be happier to be here with a blue and white jersey on right now. I think it's going to be a cool experience, and I'm certainly not going to allow it to change my game. I'm just going to keep on playing my game and enjoying it."


Morgan Rielly (Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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