Today the roster for the Canadian World Junior Championships selection camp was announced. The list has two Philadelphia Flyers prospects on it, Scott Laughton and Taylor Leier. Flyers prospect Samuel Morin was not on the list. Both Laughton and Leier are putting up big numbers in their respective junior leagues and it is not surprising to see either one on the list of invitees.
Scott Laughton is the top line center for the Oshawa Generals of the OHL. Laughton was the 20th overall pick of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. Laughton played five NHL games at the beginning of the 2013 lockout-shortened season before being sent back to Oshawa. This season, he was a healthy scratch for the Flyers season opener before being sent back. So far this season Laughton has 21 goals and 21 assists through 25 games. He is 10th in the OHL in scoring even though everyone in front of him has played at least 27 games.
Taylor Leier was the 117th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft. He is now the captain of the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. This season Leier is 10th in the WHL in scoring with 19 goals and 19 assists in 28 games. Leier is an undersized (5’11”, 177lbs) left wing with considerable skill.
Both Laughton and Leier participated in the Subway Super Series against the Russian Junior team.
Although it was highly unexpected, it is still somewhat disappointing that the name Samuel Morin was not on the list. It was my hope that he would be a surprise invite who made a push to make the team. However, when one looks at the defensemen who were invited, it is clear why Morin did not receive the invitation. The defensemen who were invited are:
Chris Bigras – 32nd overall pick, 2013 NHL Draft – Colorado Avalanche prospect
Matthew Dumba – 7th overall pick, 2012 NHL Draft – Minnesota Wild prospect – 13 games NHL experience
Aaron Ekblad – Projected top 3 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft
Josh Morrissey – 13th overall pick, 2013 NHL Draft – Winnipeg Jets prospect
Adam Pelech – 65th overall, 2012 NHL Draft – New York Islanders prospect
Derrick Pouliot – 8th overall pick, 2012 NHL Draft – Pittsburgh Penguins prospect
Griffin Reinhart – 4th overall pick, 2012 NHL Draft – New York Islanders prospect
Damon Severson – 60th overall pick, 2012 NHL Draft – New Jersey Devils prospect
Of the eight defensemen invited, Dumba, Pelech, Pouliot, Reinhart, and Severson have more experience than Morin. Josh Morrissey was picked only two spots behind Morin and it was widely believed that Morrissey is the better prospect. Chris Bigras was ranked in many prospect profiles ahead of Morin and although he slipped to the second round, he is having a successful year for the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL. Although he is younger than Morin, many scouts predict that Aaron Ekblad is generational talent on defense. Some even believe he will be the number 1 overall pick in 2014. It is not too much of surprise that Morin was ommitted in favor of Ekblad.
Both Darnell Nurse (No.7 overall, 2013) and Ryan Pulock (No. 15 overall, 2013) were left off of the list as well. They would be ahead of Morin on most people’s Canadian Junior depth chart. The Flyers drafted Morin on his huge potential. The fact that he is not a superstar right now is nothing to worry about. Most good defensemen take time to develop. The fact that he is being overlooked for some of these prospects is nothing to worry about. If handled correctly, Morin is still in a position to be a very good defenseman someday.
The Canadian World Junior Camp will take place from December 12-15, 2013. The World Junior Championships will be held from December 26, 2013-January 5, 2014.