Mike Reilly (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
University of Minnesota defenseman Mike Reilly will be turning pro next season, but he may not be signing with the team that drafted him. Reilly told the Columbus Blue Jackets, who drafted Reilly in the fourth round, 98th overall, of the 2011 draft, that he wants to test the free agent market, but may still sign with the club.
Defenseman Mike Reilly could be the latest drafted college player to forego signing with the team that selected him to test unrestricted free agency.
According to a report from TSN's Bob McKenzie, Reilly, 21, has officially informed the NHL and Columbus Blue Jackets that he intends to leave the University of Minnesota to turn professional. However, in addition to turning pro, Reilly has also informed the Blue Jackets that he won't be signing with the club during the exclusive 30-day period Columbus has to negotiate with him.
Chosen by the Blue Jackets in the fourth round of the 2011 draft, 98th overall, Reilly testing the free agent market this off-season is similar to what happened with New York Rangers winger Kevin Hayes, who was a draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks but chose not to sign with the club, instead waiting for UFA eligibility and inking an entry-level contract with the Blueshirts.
Reilly was a standout at the college level over the past two seasons. After a breakout year in 2013-14 in which he scored nine goals and 33 points in 41 games for Minnesota, Reilly was named the Big Ten's defensive player of the year, given a nod to the first all-star team and landed himself a spot on the West NCAA all-star team. He followed his 2013-14 performance up with six goals and 42 points in 39 games this season.
For the past two weeks, Reilly has been part of the American team at the World Championship in the Czech Republic. He suited up for all nine games for USA and managed one assist. It was his first time representing USA on the national stage since the 2012-13 World Junior Championship where he scored one goal and three points in seven games.
According to The Columbus Dispatch's Aaron Portzline, Reilly has repeatedly said that he would consider signing with the Blue Jackets.
If Reilly signs elsewhere, Columbus will not receive compensation for the pick as the Blackhawks did for Hayes because Reilly was selected outside of the first round.