Mike Reilly's eventual signing with Minnesota was a surprise, even though the Wild was long rumored to be in the Reilly Sweepstakes. After becoming a free agent by informing that he would not sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets in May, it was down to the Chicago Blackhawks and the Wild before it was announced at the 2015 draft that he chose to move from Minneapolis to St. Paul.
Reilly was a staple on the Golden Gopher blue line as his University of Minnesota teams captured three conference titles. His good vision and hard shot made him the Gopher's power play quarterback. He also was on a Gold medal winning World Junior team back in 2013, and followed it up with bronze medal in the World Championships after defeating the Czech Republic.
He's still a bit of a wildcard defensively, but in his junior year, he made it a priority to be better defensively. He put on 10 pounds to be more of a force in his own end while working with Gophers Associate Coach Mike Guentzel on improving his positioning. He's made serious strides on both ends of the ice and it's a huge reason the All-American was such a sought after defenseman after not signing with Columbus.
When Ryan Suter is on his game, he is often carrying the puck up the ice and looking for the best way to gain the offensive zone. Reilly's game is very much like that as well. He is very much a mobile defenseman, but unlike Suter, he adds an offensive punch. His specialty is quarterbacking the power play - which is great for a team that has a struggling power play and not enough triggermen.
What the scouts say:
Reilly is a great puck moving defenseman with good vision and a strong shot. His biggest improvements need to be on the defensive side of the game, starting with his positioning but that should come with maturity. Reilly has added 30 pounds to his once questionable frame since being drafted which has made him much more effective in his own zone. He has great instincts on when to the join the rush and excels on the power play. - Hockey's Future
Between the puck moving ability, skating, shot and ability to create offense, he ends up being in his element as a difference-maker on the power play. Reilly was the point man for the Gophers' top-ranked first power play unit this past season. Most opportunities either began or went through him. Nathan Wells; SBNation College Hockey
(Courtesy of Wild.com)
Reilly will get every chance to make the NHL squad in training camp and round out the top 6. He offers a lot of potential, it just needs to be realized, and that is why he lands at number 9 in our Top 25 Under 25.