On June 30, 2013, with the 11th pick in the NHL Draft, the Flyers selected Samuel Morin from the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Standing at 6’6″ (he would later grow another inch) and over 200 lbs, he looked as if he would be a major force to be reckoned with.
He was deemed the heir apparent to the recently retired Chris Pronger. It was hoped that he, along with Robert Hagg, a Swedish defender taken in the second round, would patrol the blue line and dish out punishing hits to any forward who dared to trespass. Alas, it didn’t happen.
Sometimes things happen and it is unfortunate. Morin, like Nolan Patrick several years later, is a major bust first round pick by the Flyers. However, this is not them completely missing on a prospect. This is not Jeff Woywitka from 2001.
Morin was a highly touted defenseman. He was praised for his size. It is that same size, however, that would be his downfall. Big guys take big hits. They take a longer time to fall down and many times they are hit low. (Just ask Eric Lindros).
In the 2018 Calder Cup playoffs, Morin injured his knee. He tried to rehab it during the summer, but tore the ACL again the following year. One ACL tear is hard to come back from. Twice on the same knee is virtually impossible.
Plagued with injuries, he never gave up. Showing what the Flyers really loved about it, he kept trying to come back. At one point, he tried to play as a left winger. He went back to playing defense in 2020-21, playing in 20 games. He scored his first, and only goal, against the New York Rangers.
Maybe had he not been injured, he could’ve been one of the great blueliners of the era. His size would’ve been imposing and he could’ve been that big hulking defender that the Flyers are still looking for. It didn’t happen. For a great kid who showed so much promise, a hockey career is now over.
Looking back on it, the pick was the right one to make. The Flyers desperately needed some defensive players and picked two with their first two picks. You can’t predict that someone is going to get hurt. You never know what you are going to draft. Sometimes you strike gold in the first round. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you find a diamond in the rough in a later round.
We wish Samuel Morin all the best in his future endeavors. And with him, we mourn the career that could’ve been.