It’s what I call the silly season. The season is over for most NCAA teams and some college hockey players are making decisions regarding their future. Do they stay or go? Here's an interesting story that I stumbled across today. It appears that the Columbus Blue Jackets beat writer is concerned that Gophers defenseman Mike Reilly might not be headed to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Michael Arace, Blue Jackets Xtra -- Former Blue Jackets scout Brian Bates bird-dogged Reilly since the kid was a scrawny ninth grader. When the Jackets’ turn came up in the fourth round of the 2011 NHL draft, Bates and others clamored, and the pick was made. Then-general manager Scott Howson selected Reilly 98th overall.
Four years later, Reilly’s considerable skills are better-honed — and he is 3 inches taller (6-1) and almost 30 pounds heavier (182). Although he remains slightly undersized by NHL standards, he is acclaimed to be NHL-ready after three years, two of them dominant, at the University of Minnesota.
Jackets fans have been eyeing Reilly lustfully during this crazily frustrating season. Management has been laying a red carpet. He is another piece for a young team that projects to be highly competitive in years to come. He is the rare defenseman who can skate or pass the puck out of trouble. Think, Paul Martin.
Alas, Columbus is not his destination.
All signs point in another direction.
The Jackets own Reilly’s rights for 30 days after he leaves Minnesota. The Gophers’ season ended last week with a 4-1 loss to Minnesota-Duluth in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but Reilly did not leave. Instead, he elected to concentrate on his studies and listen to the advice of “family consultant” Pat Brisson — who happens to be one of the most prominent hockey agents in the world.