Report: Blackhawks Suitors For Another College Free Agent?

According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, the Chicago Blackhawks are in the mix for University of Minnesota defenseman Mike Reilly.

Portzline has also tweeted that Pat Brisson is acting as a “family advisor” for Reilly. Brisson, of course, represents both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, as well as a handful of the game’s other top stars.

Reilly, who will turn 22 in July, was a fourth round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011. He was named one of the 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey’s top player this season after posting six goals and 36 assists in 42 games for the Golden Gophers. Reilly┬áis a two-time All-American, the reigning two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and also won a gold medal with the U.S. at the 2013 World Junior Championship. He is currently competing with the United States at the World Championships.

Reilly is four years removed from his draft year, but has only played three years at Minnesota. That makes him eligible to test unrestricted free agency if he does not sign with the Blue Jackets 30 days after he leaves school, which would be June 1. He has the option of returning to Minnesota for his senior season, but made the decision to go pro in early April.

Hockey’s Future rates Reilly the top defenseman in the Columbus organization.

18 thoughts on “Report: Blackhawks Suitors For Another College Free Agent?

  1. I had heard they were sniffing around 1-2 more guys but didn’t hear any specifics or that is was a college free agent. Reilly would be a nice get.

  2. Panarin watch;

    added a beautiful assist versus USA yesterday- for Russia’s only goal… commentator said Panarin has been one of the Stars for Team Russia so far in Tourney

  3. I just realized… while watching/”scouting” this USA vs. Russia game for Panarin…
    I found myself being impressed with #6 for USA D… guy stood out to me for USA D…
    I only watched 1st 30 minutes of game… didn’t catch his name..

    Well- I just looked up the stats from the game… #6 IS Reilly!!!

    Panarin- is a lock to make Hawks next year- imo
    I was REALLY impressed in very small sample with this guy…

  4. I would love for SB to get this kid… however- he is from Minn., plays for U of Minn.
    and His dad is a small equity owner of the Wild…

    If he doesn’t sign w/ Jackets… I don’t see how he snubs the Old man!!!

  5. Yeah, it does sound like a bit of a reach to think Reilly would sign with a rival team instead of the team from where he grew up and his dad is part owner. But … kids … you never know. It would be a nice catch though. I saw the USA-Russia game too and Reilly is a nice skater and would fit very well in the Hawks system.

  6. It’s worth reminding us that the Hawks have had a couple Minnesota defensemen – Leddy, Holl – come thru recently and have a couple picks still in the B1G – Jardine at Ohio State, Motte at Michigan. It’s smart for him to weigh his options, but this may be posturing similar to how Paliotta “considered his options” (for a couple minutes) before signing w/ the Hawks.

  7. Tab,

    It’s also worth noting Brisson said “nothing to report” when asked about Reilly signing with Columbus. The article also said Columbus tried hard to sign him after last year – it didn’t happen and the kid went back to U of Minn. for his jr. year and did even better. I’d be very surprised if he signed with Columbus. They’ve been trying to sign him for over a year and it hasn’t happened and now the kid is 3 weeks away from free agency and can arguably choose his destination.

    Who knows about the dad connection re: the Wild. Sometimes dads encourage the player to get out from under the microscope. I think that his advisor is Brisson is a good sign for the Blackhawks but obviously Reilly will have options and a lot of them.

  8. This kid is pro ready now, which is a key for both Reilly and the Hawks. This offseason the Hawks enter it with only Seabs, Keith and Hammer realistically under contract. Even if the Hawks keep Oduya at a price reduction, that still leaves three spots and no one in their right mind would stay with Runbad after he proved himself to be worthless come playoff time. TVR ISN’T going to come back and be healthy, as major injuries have been his calling card throughout his hockey career. That leaves THREE spots to fill with the resigning of Oduya. Stephen Johns is one for sure, and Michael Paliotta has an excellent shot at another, but there is still that 7th spot to fill.

    So think about this from Reilly’s perspective, he has a chance to walk right out of College hockey and start for the best Hockey franchise in the world! Who walks away from that chance? He would have a much more difficult chance at making the Wild’s active roster next year than Chicago’s. Now is the time for both Reilly and Chicago, so I think it is going to happen.

  9. That would be huge!
    It’s worth noting that Reilly’s dad is a minority owner of the Wild. Now, to prevent tampering would he not sign there?One would have to assume if he does sign there tampering charges would be filed.

  10. I’m at work drooling over the thought of D pairings of 2-7, 4 with Johns or Pokka, And Reilly with whoever isnt with 4.

  11. I feel for Columbus. They won’t be getting compensation either since he left a year early…right?

  12. A quick google search of Mike Reilly Blackhawks brings you to a Balckhawks page where Reilly listed the Hawks as his favorite team…He also lists a Nickelback song as his favorite “pump up” song….So now I don’t know what to think

  13. It’s probably a long shot … so … you’re saying there’s still a chance. :)

    The Swede just signed, Eric Gustafsson, is a LD but I don’t know how close he is to being ready for the NHL. There was a comment made by Gustafsson’s agent that he knows he may have to spend time in the AHL, but that may just mean that he isn’t expecting to be given a NHL spot – not that he isn’t ready for one. But Gustafsson was described as more of a stay at home d-man whereas Reilly is a PMD offensive guy.

    But, all of that will be figured out sometime after the Parade in June. :)

  14. Reilly would be a great fit.

    Interesting note, he is great friends with the former proverbial tenant of Q’s doghouse, Nick Leddy.

    Wonder what advice Ole Ledpipe gives him, like its a great hockey town/team or that his leash may be too short to thrive right away?

    I love and often agree with Q, but I wonder what perception Reilly will have before he signs the dotted line.

  15. Ernie – that is hilarious. Thanks for the laugh. B&B thanks for yet another thoughtful response.

    Good on SB for loading up the ship with fresh bodies. You throw enough of them at the wall, at least one is bound to stick.

  16. B and B,

    I think you forgot about Ville Polke who we picked up in the leddy trade who is also highly rated.

  17. I have watched Reilly a number of times. He is very very good. A puck carrying, good skating left handed shot. He was a fabulous college hockey player.

    The question is, what is his ceiling ?

    As Tab mentioned above he is friends with Leddy (and plays a lot like him ). He is also friends and former teammates with Holl.

    There was a player whose top pairing offensive slot he slid into named Nate Schmidt, another fabulous college hockey offensive defenseman whom Washington
    Signed as and in drafted college free agent. Schmidt is now the Caps #9 or 10th defenseman who is a good AHL player and a bit of a tweener with the caps.

    I think Reilly is faster than Schmidt. But it such a huge jump from being a really good AHL offensive defenseman to a trustworthy, capable NHL defenseman, witness TJ Brennan.

    If the Hawks sign Reilly, great. Seems like they missed on Dillon Fournier to this point.

    I am more excited about Paliotta. Mean, nasty, stick is a weapon type crease clearing defenseman.

    Reilly and Gustafson can jockey for minutes at Rockford next season, among many others.

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