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Penguins sign draftee Will Reilly to entry level contract

After John Marino, who knows about what the future could hold for prospects?

The Pittsburgh Penguins announced today that they’ve signed 2017 draftee Will Reilly to a two-year entry level contract. From the team:

The deal begins with the 2020-21 season and runs through the 2021-22 campaign.

”Will had an impressive year in 2019-20 after continuing to improve during his four years at RPI. His commitment to working hard and improving his conditioning has paid off,” said Rutherford. “We are happy to add another young player, increasing our organizational depth on defense.”

Reilly, 22, was chosen by the Penguins with the 217th overall selection at the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago. From 2017-2019, Reilly attended the Penguins’ annual prospect development camp at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

The 6-foot-2, 197-pound defenseman recently completed his senior season at Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute (RPI) of the ECAC where he captained the Engineers. Among ECAC defensemen in 2019-20, Reillyranked second in goals (8) and fifth in points (22) in 34 games played. Additionally, Reilly was the team-leader in plus/minus at plus-14 and led the club in power-play points with nine (4G-5A)

At the conclusion of the 2019-20 season, Reilly was named a finalist for the ECAC’s “Best Defensive Defenseman” and was named to the conference’s Second All-Star Team.

As mentioned here 10 days ago (which feels like about 100) we had Reilly listed as the 2020 prospect most likely to be signed by the Pens, saying:

Reilly is perhaps the most signing worthy player, the R.P.I. senior tallied a career high 8G+14A and 22 points in his last college season and showed gradual improvement each year. The Pens drafted Reilly in the seventh round of 2017 as an overage player (a strategy that has worked well for them) and now they’ll have to decide about his future. At 6’3 and a right-handed shot, Reilly brings some intriguing tools to the table. However he’s also turning 23 this summer and his NHL prospects might not be the brightest but for all these players in the mix, Reilly’s trajectory looks the best right now. Reilly has also been in the Pens’ summer prospect camps and this will be a player they have tracked and know well.

Interestingly, Reilly was the Mr. Irrelevant of the 2017 draft, a spot held in 2005 by Patric Hornqvist. Reilly has improved over the seasons, and with John Marino jumping right in to make an NHL impact, who knows what can happen. Marino’s very much the exception to the rule in prospect cases, but Reilly has a lot of interesting skills and abilities to go along with a pro-ready frame. That’s always a good starting point, especially for a team like Pittsburgh who has a weak prospect system at right-defense.

In fact, after the Calen Addison trade (and considering Marino graduated), the Penguins basically have nothing in the way of NHL prospects that are even close to AHL level right now in their development for RH defensemen. The addition of a player like Reilly could be a great opportunity for himself in that regards that the team could really use developing more of the like somewhere down the line.