Maple Leafs send rookie Rielly back to junior

Toronto Maple Leafs first-round draft pick Morgan Rielly scored the tying goal for the Marlies in his pro debut. (CP Photo)
January 18, 2013, 12:18 PM

Despite a strong showing in training camp, the Toronto Maple Leafs sent defenceman Morgan Rielly back to junior on Friday.

Rielly, 18, will head back to the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League, where he has 28 points in 33 games this season.

The Vancouver native was selected fifth overall by the Leafs in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Leafs general manager Dave Nonis told media that Rielly played well but didn’t get a chance to compete in any exhibition games and Nonis didn’t think it was fair to have him in a regular season game having never played against NHL-calibre competition.

Nonis added that depending how far Rielly’s junior team goes there’s a good chance he will be back in Toronto by the end of the season.

Even with Rielly being sent back down to juniors, the Leafs still have nine defencemen in camp.

In other Leafs news, forward Matt Frattin was absent at practice Friday, which has led to speculation that he has been cut in favour of Leo Komarov, though the team has not officially announced the move.

At Friday’s practice there were 13 forwards on the ice and the forward lines were:

Kessel-Bozak-Lupul

Kulemin-Grabovski- MacArthur

JVR-Kadri -Komarov

Orr-McClement-Brown

David Steckel was the 13th man

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