Morgan Rielly signed a new six-year contract with the Maple Leafs on Wednesday and spoke with media following the announcement via conference call. Here's what he had to say...
How has your development in terms of playing in this city gone?
I came in, I was drafted young and came in and played at 19 and didn't know what to expect. I think that playing in Toronto has been a blessing. The players love it here, it's a great place to live and obviously the fans are the best in the League and as players we're grateful to have the opportunity to be here. I think for myself personally to have played the way it's gone and have this new contract, I just feel very lucky to be in the place I'm in. Toronto is a great place to be. I'm very grateful and I'm looking forward to the next chapter.
Have you got any idea what you'll spend the money on?
No, that hasn't crossed my mind. I'm just grateful it's a long-term, it keeps me in Toronto and I'm looking forward to getting back to work.
Why is long-term important to you rather than hitting free agency?
I think it's just about commitment. I personally believe that this team has some pieces in place to turn this into the team we want to be. I think that's very exciting. I certainly don't want to go anywhere so it's not about being a UFA. It's about being in Toronto, being a part of this and having belief in the team that's here and the plan we have in place...
How big a summer is this for you considering the level of competition you'll experience?
It's big I think. I'm looking forward to going over to Russia and playing for my country and obviously the World Cup here in Toronto is going to be a great experience as well. I think the most important thing is that I train hard. I'm looking forward to getting stronger, faster and having a big season next year with the Toronto Maple Leafs because that's what really counts. There's no question that going over to the Worlds is a great honour, playing in the World Cup is very exciting. You need to focus on your job and I'm looking forward to next season, but there's lots of hockey to be played still. That's always a positive as well.
How important was getting extra trust from the coaches?
It's nice when your coach has that trust in you, wants to put you on the ice. I think we had the opportunity to go out there and be on the PK, be on the power play and when you have a chance to help the team, that's the most important thing and you have to take advantage of it. Your coach has trust in you, you want to do well for him, you want to play well for your teammates. When you get an opportunity to play to be on the special teams, it's just a matter of doing your best and being grateful for the opportunity. I think that with Mike, I think he had that with me and Naz, for players that can really go a long way.
What do you think the next level represents for you?
I think for me I have a long way to go in my career. I think it's just a matter of trying to get better every day. Whether it's being a good teammate or taking the move in your career, I certainly want to be a player in this league that this team can be proud of. This year I took some steps but I realize I have a long way to, a long way to improve. For me, I'm just looking forward to the challenge. I want to get better and move forward with this team.