The Philadelphia Flyers have announced that defenseman Sam Morin will be making his National Hockey League debut Tuesday in the Flyers match-up with the New Jersey Devils. “It’s a dream come true for me,” Morin said in an interview with CSN Philly. “When I played hockey, when I was a little boy, just thinking about playing in the NHL. It’s a hockey game. I worked hard for that.”
Morin Set to Make Debut
The 21-year-old, 6-foot-7 blueliner was an 11th overall draft pick of the Flyers back in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Morin was a member of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s (QMJHL) Rimouski Oceanic from 2011 until 2015, where he skated in a total of 200 games, scoring 16 goals and tallying 71 assists. In 2015, Morin joined the Flyers American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, where he would play in a total of 144 games, notching seven goals and 27 helpers. Known more as a menacing force, Morin has recorded 238 PIM in his two years in the AHL.
Morin was informed Monday evening by Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol that he would be making his debut. The Flyers, who have lost both Radko Gudas and Brandon Manning recently to injury have been shorthanded on the defensive front. It has been announced that he will be paired with defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.
Due to the big prowess of Morin stepping in, the Flyers hope to see some physicality added to the lineup. “That’s the perfect opportunity for Sam to come in and play his game,” Hakstol said. “His game, it’s a heavy, two-way game. … We’ve got him paired with Ghost. That’s a pair that makes sense, a puck-mover and a good two-way defender.” (CSN Philly)
Scouting Report by Ben Kerr (Released Summer 2016)
Morin skates pretty well for a big man, but he does have some areas he needs to work on. His straight line speed is good for his size, and his acceleration is decent enough. His agility is also at a very good level, and this gives him some decent mobility. However he does need work on his edge work and pivots. Morin has had some trouble dealing with speedy forwards especially when they make quick cuts around him. He will need to work on this aspect of his game, and improve his ability to change directions quickly before he is ready for the speed of the NHL game.
Morin’s offense has greatly improved since his draft year. He is more confident with the puck on his stick and is more willing to wait an extra second or too to make to make a better play in the offensive zone. Morin has always had a good first pass in his own zone. He could use it better in the offensive zone, but this area of his game is improving. One thing that would help is if he keeps his slap shot low to allow his teammates to go for tips and rebounds. He may never be a huge scorer in the NHL, but there is some potential to be a second unit PP guy.
Listed at 6’7″, Morin is an imposing physical specimen at the back end. He plays a strong defensive game, using his size and physicality in his own zone. Morin throws big hits and battles hard in front of the net and along the boards. He plays a strong positional game and uses his size and his long stick to cut down passing and shooting lanes.
Morin has even got a bit of a mean streak, he plays very physical, and is often right on the border (and sometimes even over it) on what is legal. His high penalty minute totals can attest that he does have a tendency to sometimes cross that line. Morin is not afraid to drop the gloves either and with his size, its no surprise that he has been very successful when doing so.
Morin’s size literally made him a man amongst boys in the junior ranks and while he’s increased his weight from 207 when drafted to 227 last season, there was a bit of an adjustment to facing men in the AHL. Morin had to learn that he could not just push people around the way he did in junior and had to work on gaining leverage to be effective. He also had to adjust to the quicker speed of the AHL. Those gave him issues early in the year, but his game improved by the end of the year.