As the Columbus Blue Jackets continue the process of converting the team from cellar dweller to playoff contender, one area they could definitely look to improve is their offensive attack. One Blue Jackets' prospect that could eventually aid that cause would be defenseman Mike Reilly.
Reilly, an offensive defender who will be attending the University of Minnesota beginning in the fall, recently completed a stellar season with the powerhouse Junior A club, the Penticton Vees. Reilly and his Vees teammates romped through the BCHL during the 2011-12 season, including a stretch of 42 games without a loss. The Vees then capped off their season in style, winning the 2012 RBC Cup which cemented the team's claim as the top Junior A club in Canada.
The contributions from Reilly to the Vees' championship season cannot be understated. The Chanhassen, Minnesota native finished the regular season as the top offensive defenseman in the BCHL, which included totals of 24 goals and 59 assists for 83 points in 51 games. He followed that up with nine points (1G, 8A) in 15 playoff games. For his efforts, Reilly was named a BCHL First Team All-Star.
USA Hockey took note of the exploits of Reilly and two of his Vees teammates, Mario Lucia and Steven Fogarty, with invites to that organization's National Junior Evaluation Camp that was held this past week in Lake Placid, New York.
HF spoke with Reilly at the NJEC for this interview.