Mike Reilly in 2022
Key stats: 70GP, 4G, 13A, 17PTS
Additional stats: 18:57 ATOI, 56.7% CF (5v5), 57.2% oZS (5v5), 135 shots
Reader rating: 5.2
Writer rating: 6
When doing some background research for Mike Reilly’s review, I was surprised to see his statline featured 70 games played during the regular season.
This is going to sound dumb, but you’ll know what I mean: it seemed like he was healthy scratched a lot more than just nine games last year.
(He missed three games due to COVID-19 protocols.)
It was a season of ups and downs for Reilly - after impressing during his post-deadline stint in 2021, he couldn’t find his offensive game consistently last season.
That, coupled with occasional defensive struggles, led to him spectating from the press box more often than we may have expected going into the year.
Reilly recorded 8 assists in 15 games after the deadline in 2021; last season, he recorded just 5 more assists for a total of 13, but in 55 more games.
He did, to his credit, chip in with 4 goals this season after going goalless in 2021, including the first shorthanded goal of his NHL career.
When he was acquired, he was billed as a guy who could move the puck and skate pretty well, while also landing pucks on net, something the Bruins sorely needed toward the end of that 2021 season.
And it’s not like those talents completely evaporated last season, just that they appeared more sporadically than you’d like to see.
Reilly found himself shuffled between the second and third defense pairings all season, occasionally playing with someone like Brandon Carlo, occasionally playing with someone like Joshua Brown.
You could maybe argue that rotating partners hurt Reilly’s overall game, but shuffled pairings was kind of par for the course for anyone not named Charlie McAvoy.
Overall, I don’t think Reilly was outright bad last season, and it seems like the ratings reflect that: 5-6 is firmly in the “fine” territory, but it’s also fair to say that “fine” is a lot less than many expected after a good showing in his first spring.
While he has spent most of the summer on the shelf after surgery, Reilly’s name has been on many the minds of many Bruins fans as a potential trade target.
He’s under contract for two more seasons at a $3 million AAV, a reasonably “tradeable” contract.
Given the Bruins’ need to shed salary at some point and the fact that other options do exist on the blueline, Reilly has been floated as possibly heading out of town.
Unless something has changed in his rehab, Reilly is expected to be ready for the start of the season.
With McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk on the shelf initially, he should have a chance to get regular ice time.
What he does with that ice time remains to be seen — if we see 2021 Reilly, he’ll give the team something to think about when fully healthy.
If we see healthy scratch Reilly, he may not be on the roster come New Year’s Day.
Overall, I feel like it’s a little harsh to call Reilly a disappointment after last season - underwhelming might be a more fair description.
At his best, Reilly is enjoyable to watch and Bruins some much-needed fluidity to the Bruins’ blue line.
Here’s to hoping we see more of that version, and less of the Level 9 version, in 2022-2023.