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Leafs rookie Rielly making a case to stay early in camp

Sep 15, 2013, 9:10 AM EDT

Morgan Rielly AP

Toronto Maple Leafs rookie Morgan Rielly is making life tough on team management in training camp.

The 19-year-old defenseman came into camp knowing he had to impress everyone and then some to earn a spot with the Leafs and as Mark Zwolinski of The Toronto Star shares, he’s doing just that early on. Coach Randy Carlyle says he has to keep it going into the team’s first preseason game against Philadelphia.

“He has to play to his strengths . . . you see what he can do — get up in the rush — and he did that there on that goal,” Carlyle said. “He has to do that in an exhibition game, then the next one after that and so on.”

Rielly was paired up with team captain Dion Phaneuf yesterday at camp and such a pairing likely wasn’t done on a lark.

If he can work well with the team’s best defenseman, and if there’s chemistry, he could force Carlyle and GM Dave Nonis to give him a longer look into the regular season.

While that could make the team’s already dicey salary cap situation more difficult, if it means the team finds their new No. 2 blue liner, they might just be OK with that.

Related: Leafs need to be careful with prized prospect Rielly

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