Vees defenceman drafted by Blue Jackets

Joey Laleggia’s replacement Mike Reilly will attend the Penticton Vees training camp with an impressive tag line. NHL draft pick.

Joey Laleggia’s replacement Mike Reilly will attend the Penticton Vees training camp with an impressive tag line. NHL draft pick.

The 18-year-old defenceman was chosen by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the fourth round, 98th overall during the NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota on June 24. A Chicago native raised in Chanhassen, MN, Reilly also has a connection to Ohio as reported by bluejackets.com. that his  sister Shannon recently completed a four-year hockey career at Ohio State.

“I went to a (Blue Jackets) game or two last year,” said Reilly, who is at the Blue Jackets development camp. “They are a young team but have a lot of good prospects and I would love to help out.”

NHL.com reported that the five-foot-10, 150-pound blueliner may not “possess that intimidating look or hulking stature but his intelligence and vision catapulted him 13 slots to No. 52 on NHL Central Scouting’s final list of North American skaters.

“In his first season at the famed Shattuck-St. Mary’s school in Faribault, Minn. — after spending two seasons at the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Minn. — Reilly was able to elevate his draft stock by playing a key role in Shattuck’s first USA Hockey national championship in three seasons,” said NHL.com.

What Vees coach Fred Harbinson likes of Reilly is his ability to skate.

“He gets up and down the sheet in a hurry,” said Harbinson, who has talked about pairing Reilly with Troy Stecher.

With Stecher being a right handed shot and Reilly being a left, Harbinson feels they will be a good fit together despite their lack of size.

“He’s going to be puck-moving defenseman … It comes really natural for him and he plays with his head up and makes a great first pass,” said Shattuck coach Tom Ward to NHL.com. “He can move the puck up the rink. He’s going to have to work on polishing up the defensive side of his game, but he understands that and isn’t afraid of it.”

Vees note: Joey Laleggia of Burnaby just had a dream come true as the Vancouver Canucks invited the graduate of the Penticton Vees program to its prospects camp. Laleggia, who grew up watching the Canucks, will attend the camp prior to departing for Denver University where he will play this fall.