It was no secret among fans and experts following the team that the Philadelphia Flyers would opt for a defenseman in the first round of this year’s NHL draft. The only question was who would be the chosen one. On social media names such as Nurse, Ristolainen, Pulock, Zadorov were mentioned by fans as potential picks when it would be time for GM Paul Holmgrem to announce the choice of the team for the 11th overall pick. That choice was Rimouski Oceanic defenseman Samuel Morin who according to Holmgrem later was the one he and the recruiting staff wanted. The soon-to-be 18 year-old is listed at 6’6” and 203lbs according to the QMJHL website but some scouting reports show his height at 6’7”. He is a native of Lac-Beauport (Quebec City) and was raised in Saint-Henri (Montreal). He played Midget AAA in Lévis and was drafted 7th overall by Rimouski at the 2011 QMJHL draft. During his first season in Rimouski he was named to the QJMJHL All-Rookie Team. Morin played for Canada/Quebec in the 2012 U17 World Hockey Challenge and he also represented Canada/Quebec in the 2013 U18 World Hockey Challenge. Chances are he will represent Canada at the 2014 World Junior Championship should he play in Rimouski another year which will be probably the case.
Morin was initially ranked 51st at the beginning of his 2012-13 season and ended up 17th prior to the draft according to TSN yesterday. Craig Button had predicted the Flyers would pick him 11th during a TSN pre-draft show on Wednesday. Even I who live in Quebec was surprised to hear his name on Wednesday and I was also surprised yesterday. However I started to do my homework on Morin’s profile and now believe he was the best choice for the Flyers just like Holmgrem mentioned it during a quick meeting with the reporters after the selection.
With 4 goals and 12 assists in 46 games this season so far Morin has not been an offensive threat but he will get there. It is especially that aspect of his game that improved from last September up until now. He is known as a fierce and tough competitor, quick to pass the puck up to moving forwards to exit the defensive zone, has a great range and a great slap shot. His penalty minutes per game avg. went up this season because of his physical play. With his size he can fight as well. He will need to add muscle to that frame if he wants to play the same physical type of game in the NHL than he does in junior hockey. Offensively things will come along as he will keep improving with coaching and confidence. A couple of scouting reports compared him to Zdeno Chara (obviously because of his size) but the new member of the Philadelphia Flyers would like to think that he plays more like his idol Chris Pronger. I can see him among the top 4 Ds in 2-3 years. The opponents won’t like him.
Morin will be a great fit with Philadelphia and he said three times to reporters that he was happy to have been selected by Philadelphia. The kid even mentioned Bobby Clarke and Luke Schenn so he knows the organization. He is friendly with the media and the fans will love him. I can only be proud as French-Canadian to see another player from Quebec joining my favorite team.