Sunday afternoon in Newark, N.J., Flyers’ general manager Paul Holmgren stepped up to the podium to announce the selection of Samuel Morin as the no. 11 pick of the 2013 NHL Draft.
This pick made some scratch their heads. Stud defensive prospects such as Ryan Pulock and Nikita Zadorov remained on the board, yet the Flyers decided to go with the safe pick in Morin. As time passed, more and more information surfaced about the Flyers’ selection. What has risen about Morin has decreased some of the skepticism surrounding him.
“Talked with a lot of guys who have seen junior hockey. Not one thinks Morin won’t be a solid NHL defenseman. Has improved tons in last 2 yrs”
Last year, Morin was a mid-level pick. He was unknown when it came to projecting the first round of the draft. Former Flyer Chris Pronger cited Morin’s work ethic as a reason why he rose from mediocrity to coveted prospect.
Bill Meltzer of HockeyBuzz.com offered his own take on the Flyers’ pick. Aside from Morin’s huge frame – 6′ 6″, 203 lbs – Meltzer spoke of Morin’s good skating for a player of his stature. Despite his impressive skating, Meltzer said there is room for improvement in the 17-year-old’s footwork. His offensive statistics are nothing to marvel. In 108 games he tallied 20 points, but he does have a mean streak.
“You don’t necessarily have to catch them,” Pronger said of smaller, quicker players like a Patrick Kane. “Because when you are mean, they don’t come near you.” – Chris Pronger talking to Flyers’ reporter Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.
I took some time to watch some recent highlights of Morin and liked what I saw. Morin uses his size to his advantage when playing along the boards. He is not afraid to get physical in order to win the puck battles. His stickwork during the one-on-one battles stood out. Even when he forfeits the puck, he fights to get it back. Morin also made good first passes out his own zone, which helps with the transition game.
One play in this video stood out to me. During a game against Finland, an opposing forward got a step on Morin. Any regular-sized defenseman would have had to use some speed to make up for the blunder, but Morin kept his feet moving while using his long reach to challenge the shooter. The forward never got anything off and the puck skittered to the corner.
While this may have been a questionable pick, the Flyers have an impressive track record when it comes to the first-round of the draft. Morin is still raw and numerous writers and scouts believe he is a few years away from NHL action. Many scouts believe he could be the real deal.
“ISS [Hockey] compares Samuel Morin to Tyler Myers. Compares Robert Hagg to John Carlson.”
“ISS says this of Morin: “Could be a stud if he puts it all together… a very intriguing prospect.”
-Blurbs via hockey writer Dustin Leed @D_LEED