Though it’s unlikely Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly will suit up at the upcoming world junior hockey championships, Leafs general manager Dave Nonis says it’s “not impossible” that the NHL rookie could be loaned to Team Canada.
“In the event that he’s not playing regularly, or there’s a change in our roster…I wouldn’t say that he’s off the table,” Nonis told the National Post. “But I wouldn’t say likely.”
The selection camp will take place Dec. 12-15 at the Maple Leafs practice facility in Etobicoke, Ont., and Nonis suggested that since Rielly represented his country at the tournament a year ago he may not need to attend this year’s camp to secure a spot on the roster.
A decision on Rielly isn’t expected to be made until mid-December.
“We’ll probably go the next week or 10 days and see where we’re at,” Nonis explained.
On Monday, Hockey Canada announced its Canadian National Junior Selection Camp roster, and although Rielly was not on the list, Hockey Canada’s senior director of hockey operations for national teams, Scott Salmond, told NHL.com Rielly is still an option.
“[Nonis] was real clear with us that if Morgan Rielly is playing and playing big minutes with Toronto he won’t be available, and if he’s in and out of the lineup he may be available,” Salmond added. “At no point has Dave Nonis, who is the only person I’ve talked to from the Leafs, said that he’s not going to go.”
Through 22 games with the Maple Leafs this season, the 19-year-old Vancouver native has nine assists, six penalty minutes and is a team worst minus-11 while averaging 17:45 of ice time per game.