Free agent defenseman Mike Reilly, a fourth-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011, did not sign with the team before the June 15 deadline on which his draft rights expired. Though he is still eligible to sign with the team, The Columbus Dispatch reports he will look elsewhere.
From The Columbus Dispatch:
Reilly's agent, Pat Brisson, informed the Blue Jackets of the decision shortly after noon today.
"We did everything we could possibly do," Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen told The Dispatch today. "From player development since we drafted him, to recruiting him -- or whatever you would call it -- over the last few months ... it wasn't enough."
"From everyone I have talked to, I believe that as of right now the Blackhawks are the frontrunners.
As I wrote last week, there are entry-level parameters, so it's not like any team can sweeten offers. This will come down to which team sells their program best to Reilly and where he sees the best fit and clearest path to the NHL.
The Blackhawks could be selling to the left-shot, mobile Reilly that he's the eventual Nick Leddy replacement."
Reilly's dad, also named Mike, is a minority owner of the Wild, which has led many to speculate the younger Reilly could opt to sign with his hometown team.
Reilly, who turns 22 in July, was a fourth-round pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2011. The 6-foot-1, 183 pounder posted six goals and 36 assist in 42 games for the Golden Gophers, and was named one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey's top player.
The two-time All-American and reigning two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year won a bronze medal with Team USA at the IIHF Worlds Championships in May. The left-handed shooter posted an assist and 10 shots with a plus-3 in 10 games. He previously won a gold medal at the 2013 World Junior Championships.
Reilly was ranked ninth by SB Nation College Hockey's Top 100 NHL prospects in the NCAA:
"Like most of his Minnesota team, Reilly went through a lull in his play through the middle part of the season. But when Reilly is benign assertive, and playing at his best, he has the ability to take over a game in a way that no other defenseman in college hockey can. His smooth skating and vision makes him an elite puck-mover, and he runs Minnesota's power play smoothly and efficiently, making him the leading scorer among defenseman in the NCAA."