MOOSE JAW, Sask. -- Unfortunately for the rabid hockey fans that flooded Mosaic Place on Thursday to catch the final game of the 2011 Subway Super Series, highly touted and local prospect Morgan Rielly would be unavailable to participate.
The mobile defenseman, rated second on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary list for 2012 NHL Draft eligible players from the Western Hockey League, will have surgery within the next two weeks to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered Nov. 6.
"Morgan went to the University of Saskatchewan and had an MRI done, which showed that his ACL was indeed torn," Rielly's father, Andy, told NHL.com via e-mail. "At this point, we are confident that he will be 100 percent by mid-April. The doctor has not ruled out a return as early as mid to late March but that will be a decision made at the time."
While it is a major blow for Rielly, who was in his second season with the Moose Jaw Warriors, it really shouldn't affect his draft status at this time.
The 5-foot-11.5, 190-pound Rielly led Moose Jaw in rookie scoring last season and was second among defensemen with 28 points, including 22 assists, in 65 games. He was the second youngest player to represent Team Canada at the 2011 World Under-18 Championships and he competed at the 2011 U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial.
"Morgan is in pretty good spirits all considered, and very determined to get fully healed ahead of schedule," Andy Rielly wrote.
Rielly was injured on a play against the Calgary Hitmen after skating hard to the net at top speed before being knocked to the ice by former teammate Joe Kornelsen.
"It's unfortunate for our hockey club and obviously it's unfortunate for Morgan," Warriors director of hockey operations Alan Millar told the Moose Jaw Times-Herald. "The way we look at it, if he was to be back with our hockey team this year you're talking late in the season, playoff time or possibly not at all."
Rielly will have his surgery performed back home in Vancouver.
Rielly is the second top 2012 NHL Draft prospect to undergo major knee surgery this season. Sarnia Sting center Alex Galchenyuk had surgery to repair a torn ACL on Oct. 27 and likely will miss the rest of the season. Still, he was ranked second on NHL Central Scouting's preliminary ranking of the top Ontario Hockey League skaters for this year's draft.
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale