Reader Rating: 7
SCOC Rating: 6.7
Mike Reilly gave the Boston Bruins what they needed in the regular season’s final stretch after the trade deadline. But in his first career postseason, he couldn’t consistently contribute when the B’s needed it most.
Shortly after the conclusion of an excruciating 8-1 dumpster fire loss to the Washington Capitals on April 11, the Bruins announced their first trade before the deadline.
The Bruins pulled the trigger on a deal with the Ottawa Senators. The team acquired Reilly, giving Ottawa a 2022 third-round draft pick for the defenseman in return.
Reilly came to the Bruins having played 40 games with the Senators during the season. In those games, he accumulated 19 assists – which was already a career high for the veteran.
Reilly played his first game as a Bruin on April 13 and started off strong as the team’s newest member of the blueline. He had four points in his first five games and showed a much-needed consistency on defense in a season marred by injuries and concussions.
The defenseman averaged at least two shots on net in nine of his 15 games as a Bruin, and three shots or more in six of those games. Reilly took 97 shots during the season between the Bruins and Senators.
When looking at the Bruins’ defense, particularly before playoffs started, Reilly perked up puck movement and created scoring opportunities with his offensively-minded playing style. He kept plays alive and cycled down low.
He was involved in rushes and brought an overall good hockey sense of finding the sticks of his teammates, like this set-up on a David Pastrnak goal:
Plus, he provided a left shot on a team full of right-handed defenseman.
Obviously, some games were better than others, but overall, he moved the puck well and wasn’t afraid to jump into plays.
With a battered D corps, Reilly became a defenseman for the Bruins who was able to sustain longer playing minutes. On the backend, he averaged 21 or more minutes in 10 of his 15 regular season games with the B’s. Charlie McAvoy averaged the most, but Reilly was able to eat minutes and contribute with all the injuries befallen on the blueline this season.
Reilly hit a career-high 27 regular season points split between his time in Ottawa and Boston.
Considering this was the first postseason of his career, Reilly did pretty well – at least in the Washington series. In his 11 playoff games, Reilly registered four assists and 21 shots.
Reilly had his best game of the playoffs during that series, with two primary assists during the May 23 first-round clinching game. During those five games, he had three games with plus one or better ratings, and a plus three in Game 5.
But along with most of the defense - and a chunk of the roster - Reilly became a non-factor for the New York Islanders series and his production and presence tapered off when the B’s really struggled in their zone.
Reilly and the other defensemen had miscues in the defensive zone all around. They fell short being in position and coverage out front.
For Reilly, there was more consistency in his defensive pairing in the first series than the second round. But that seemed to be the theme, and obviously nothing that could really be done with the depleted the blueline.
There were just major defensive woes across the board and not just from him.
Overall, Reilly was a good pick-up for the Bruins and it shouldn’t be held against him how the season ended (given how it went for the rest of the team as well).
The Bruins clearly liked what they saw from Reilly, as they inked him to a three-year contract extension prior to free agency.
It will be interesting to see what Reilly can do with a full training camp under his belt. If he can continue moving the puck efficiently and tighten up some aspects of his play in the defensive zone, expect his rating to tick up by next summer.