It seems like we’ve been waiting on Samuel Morin forever, doesn’t it? Well, we’re going to have to wait a bit longer thanks to a torn ACL that will keep him out for the bulk of the 2018-19 season.
Morin, who just turned 23 in July, injured the knee in the Phantoms’ five-overtime marathon playoff game in the spring. It was the cap on a lost season for the former first-round pick, who played just 20 total games between Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia due to a variety of injuries.
But despite the lost season, there’s still plenty to like and project with Morin at the NHL level. The Flyers still think so too, inking him to a three-year contract extension in June. General Manager Ron Hextall said the club still has high hopes for Morin, and we do to with the 6-foot-7 defenseman coming in at No. 16 in the summer edition of our Top 25 Under 25.
No. 16: Samuel Morin
Age: 23 (7/12/1995)
Size: 6’7”, 227 (via)
Acquired Via: 2013 NHL Draft — Round 1, Pick 11
2017-18 League/Team/Statistics: Lehigh Valley (AHL) - 1 G, 6 A in 15 GP
Ranking in BSH Winter 2018 25 Under 25: 13
To evaluate Morin and where he stands as a player and in the organization isn’t all that tricky, even with an almost non-existent sample size from this past season.
The Flyers are super deep on the blue line with the likes of Ivan Provorov, Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Sanheim, and Philippe Myers all under the age of 26. It’s an embarrassment of riches to say the least and while Sanheim and Myers aren’t yet established at the NHL level like the Ghost and Provorov, the general feeling is that they will be sooner rather than later. You could even say the same of Robert Hagg, who just finished his rookie season playing 70 games after making the team out of camp.
So where does that leave Morin, you say? Well, for starters, none of the guys mentioned above is nearly seven-feet tall on skates, with a mean streak, and hell bent on clearing the crease. Morin is big, mobile, and plays with snarl. He blocks a ton of shots and is a force on the penalty kill, an area the Flyers are in dire need of improvement. Therein lies Morin’s value to the Flyers. Morin is a big, physical defenseman who skates well and has steadily improved his puck skills to the point where he can slot into an NHL lineup card.
The offensive numbers, despite a heavy shot from the point, will probably never be there but the Flyers could absolutely use Morin to aid the penalty kill and to help ease the amount of taxing minutes on Provorov and Gostisbehere. Hextall has said that the Flyers’ opinion hasn’t changed on Morin, that they’re confident he’ll be a contributor. Had the nagging injuries held off, there’s a good chance that it would have been Morin —and not Hagg— that would have spent the bulk of the season with the big club.
Hextall and the organization know what they have in Morin and likely will have a role for him whenever he’s fully healthy. That role is going to be really well defined in part because of how well the Flyers have drafted on defense in recent years. By the time Morin is back to 100% the Flyers’ top four on defense could very well be set in stone. That leaves third pair minutes for a player with average puck skills and a defining trait as a penalty killer, and that’s just fine.
Part of the reason Morin ranks high on our list is because he’s easy to project. You know what he’s most likely going to be at the NHL level when healthy and while he’s not going to be a transcendent player, he’s going to be a valuable piece. He dropped down a little bit in the rankings due to the injury, but he’s still an NHL player in our eyes and someone we’d have loved to see battle for a roster spot coming training camp. Are we totally convinced that Robert Hagg is better than Morin at this point?
Sadly, we’re not likely to see Morin until February at the earliest due to the torn ACL. It must have been a deflating year for Morin to get so close to the big club and ultimately miss out due to injury but it might actually work out well for him going forward. The Flyers have a glut of serviceable defenseman, but none that really provide what Morin does. It also gives the Flyers another year almost to evaluate Hagg and see if there’s something there or not. Hextall was confident in that Morin would be still turn out to be a good player for the club back when he announced the three-year extension, but did wait quite some time to get Hagg’s restricted free agent status out of the way earlier this summer.
By the time Morin is healthy, thinking 2019, the Flyers could theoretically have a top-four on defense of Provorov, Ghost, Sanheim, and Myers. That would leave a couple of spots and Morin with two years left under contract at a super manageable cap hit on the NHL level. A whole lot could happen between now and then but Morin is still very highly regarded within the organization and that doesn’t seem to have changed even with what amounts to a lost season in 2017-18.
Samuel Morin has a future with the Flyers, but like with his development over the years it’s just simply going to take a little more time. They say patience is a virtue, but I’m really just ready to see this dude mauling people out there in the Orange and Black.
How We Voted For Samuel Morin
How We Voted At No. 16
|Jay O'Brien||German Rubtsov||Samuel Morin||Tanner Laczynski||Danick Martel||Jay O'Brien||Wade Allison||Felix Sandstrom||Samuel Morin||Tanner Laczynski||Tanner Laczynski||Mikhail Vorobyev||Mikhail Vorobyev||Matthew Strome||German Rubtsov|
How The Community Voted For Samuel Morin
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Previously in Philadelphia Flyers Summer 2018 Top 25 Under 25: