It hasn't even been three months since Samuel Morin first pulled on a Flyers sweater, but the 18 year old has signed his entry-level contract. The team announced the news on Tuesday afternoon, confirming that it's a three-year deal with performance bonuses that could bring the yearly cap hit up to $1.425 million.
Anthony SanFilippo at the Flyers website writes that Morin has impressed during camp and has a bigger chance at cracking the NHL roster this year than we've been led to think, even if for just a nine-game look before he's sent back to Rimouski of the QMJHL. The Flyers can keep him on the NHL roster for nine games before they must make the decision to send him back to juniors or keep him in the NHL, burning off a year of his contract. He's not eligible to play in the AHL, which would be a slower, more logical transition to the professional ranks.
Sending Morin back to juniors makes sense. He's just 18 and the biggest knocks against him at the 2013 Draft -- where the Flyers selected him with the 11th overall pick -- was that he lacks finish and still possesses a very raw skill set. Putting that raw skill set into real, live NHL action based on a handful of preseason games and a few weeks of camp would seem silly, especially considering his age.
Defensemen generally develop slower anyway and given the knocks on him at the draft -- ones that were admitted by the Flyers scouting staff before they selected him -- we've been expecting two or perhaps three years before Morin becomes an NHL regular.
Morin represents the Flyers 51st contract. London Knights goalie Anthony Stolarz has been sent back to juniors, so his contract will not count against the limit this season. It's expected that Taylor Leier will be sent back to Portland of the WHL as well, and it's unknown what the team will do with 2012 first round pick Scott Laughton.
If Morin were to make the team for nine games this season, it would complicate the depth chart even further, leaving 10 guys gunning for just seven roster spots.