There aren’t many seventh-round draft choices in the National Hockey League. However, on Wednesday afternoon the Pittsburgh Penguins signed 2017 seventh-rounder William Reilly to his two-year entry-level deal, according to GM Jim Rutherford.
The Penguins selected Reilly, 22, with the 217th overall selection at the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago. Reilly attended the last three Pittsburgh Penguins’ prospect development camps at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
This season, the 6-foot-2, 197-pound defenseman completed his senior season at RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute). Reilly captained the RPI Engineers this season. He was second among ECAC defensemen with eight goals and fifth in the conference with 22 points. Additionally, Reilly led RPI in plus/minus at plus-14 and led the club in power-play points with nine (4G-5A).
“Will had an impressive year in 2019-20 after continuing to improve during his four years at RPI. His commitment to working hard and improving his conditioning has paid off,” said Rutherford. “We are happy to add another young player, increasing our organizational depth on defense.”
Generally, “organizational depth” is not a good label but the Penguins do not have a plethora of prospect defensemen and there will be open ice for Reilly in the Penguins system, whenever hockey returns to play.
He figures to battle for a spot with the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The Penguins 2017 draft class has not produced any prospects, yet. Top selection Zachary Lauzon, whom the Penguins selected in the second round, retired from hockey last September due to lingering concussion symptoms.
2017 third-rounder, defenseman Clayton Phillips has bounced around the NCAA and sat out this season to transfer to Penn State. Phillips has not yet distinguished himself in development camps, either.
The Penguins pair of fifth-round choices from 2017, Linus Ohlund and Jan Drozg played for the WBS Penguins this season, but neither are yet on the Penguins NHL roster radar.