Morgan Rielly's Close Encounter: How He Nearly Became a Montreal Canadien

Published September 4, 2023 at 3:46 PM

In 2012, there was a near-miss in the NHL draft that could have seen Morgan Rielly wearing a Montreal Canadiens jersey instead of becoming a Toronto Maple Leaf.

The Draft Dilemma

The former Canadiens general manager, Marc Bergevin, recently revealed how close they came to choosing Rielly over Alex Galchenyuk in that crucial year.

Bergevin shared some major news revealing how he would have picked Rielly over Galchenyuk at 3:

"Yes, I liked Rielly a lot. But I had just been hired on May 2, and my new staff liked Alex Galchenyuk a lot. I was with Chicago that season, and we had a later pick. We didn't waste time with Galchenyuk, who was probably going to be chosen among the first; besides, he had hardly played that winter. I looked at our center situation, we had David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec, and Chucky was considered a center. You step into the job, you haven't seen Galchenyuk play, and you're going to force them to take another player? That's not a good way to start a relationship. I let them choose. Plus, I agreed, I knew we needed centers. But I really liked Morgan Rielly." - Marc Bergevin

Galchenyuk vs. Rielly: Different Paths


Since that draft, Galchenyuk and Rielly have followed vastly different career paths. Rielly has become a star defenseman in the NHL, playing 719 games and earning 414 points, all with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He's a vital part of the Leafs' core.

On the flip side, Galchenyuk's journey has been turbulent. He spent six years with the Canadiens, played 418 games, and got 255 points before moving on to six other NHL teams, including a brief stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs, without making a significant impact. Recent issues led to the termination of his NHL contract, and he's now playing in Russia, possibly marking the end of his NHL career.

A Hypothetical Scenario

If Rielly had been picked 3rd overall by the Canadiens, it's likely that the New York Islanders would have taken Galchenyuk at the 4th spot. In this alternate scenario, the Toronto Maple Leafs would have faced a critical decision: which defenseman to select with the 5th pick? The available choices included Griffin Reinhart, Hampus Lindholm, Matt Dumba, Derrick Pouliot, and Jacob Trouba.

In the end, this "what if" moment changed the paths of Morgan Rielly and Alex Galchenyuk, leaving hockey fans to ponder how different things might have been.

As seen on Habs Fanatics - We have just learned that Alex Galchenyuk is not the player Marc Bergevin was going to draft in 2012
September 4   |   1 answers
Morgan Rielly's Close Encounter: How He Nearly Became a Montreal Canadien

Who would have the Leafs picked if Rielly was unavailable?

Griffin Reinhart00 %
Hampus Lindholm00 %
Jacob Trouba00 %
Other00 %
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