Flyers Notes: Sam Morin and the “Tom Wilson Factor”

Samuel Morin, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Samuel Morin, Philadelphia Flyers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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The Flyers 2020-21 season didn’t go according to plan, but defenseman Samuel Morin provided a shining moment that nobody in the organization could forget.

In a victory over the New York Rangers on March 27, he fired a shot past goalie Igor Shesterkin for his first NHL goal in what proved to be the game winner. The highlight came just two days after Morin knocked out former Ranger Brendan Lemieux in the final minute of an embarrassing 8-3 loss.

The NHL and the Flyers organization have consciously drifted away from fighting as an iconic element of the game. However, Morin’s statement is one example of how it’s still a part of the game. The energy he provided from the fight helped his team to victory in the most old school sort of way.

The 26-year-old former first-round pick played 20 of his 29 career NHL game’s last season. It was clear that he wanted to make a name for himself and that he was willing to drop the gloves if it helped his case to stay in the league.

The 6-foot-6 blueliner will be the closest thing to an enforcer the Flyers will have next season, and they’ll need his physicality if they want to nullify the “Tom Wilson Factor” in 2021-22.

Morin’s Role with the Flyers

The Flyers would be foolish to carry a player on their roster in the modern NHL with the sole purpose of using him as an enforcer. The minimized importance of fighting itself can be handled by scrappy players who also serve other purposes on the ice.

Morin is expected to be used as the team’s seventh defenseman this season, a necessary depth role. When he is in the lineup, he will be expected to use his heavy frame against opposing forwards with a physical style.

If he can’t play that role competently, he won’t see much ice time. If he earns head coach Alain Vigneault’s trust as a competent defender, it will enable him to bring the additional threat of the enforcer to the game.

Expect to see him get some opportunities in the lineup for division matchups, given the presence of ferocious opponents in the Metropolitan Division this season.