It’s hard to separate what Sam Morin was once thought to be with the player he currently is. Not to go and dive into the deep pool of the psychology of fan-thought, but Morin was once thought to be one of the rare players that was set to be the next level of physical defenseman that can still play the game of hockey without their knees combusting every single time they try to skate in smooth strides.
The Philadelphia Flyers certainly drafted him because he was (and still is) a 6-foot-6 defenseman. And as his progression was closely followed, trying to find any answer to the team’s defensive woes in their teenaged prospects, Morin slowly became a post-hype guy that would eventually be thought of being lucky to find any NHL minutes in his career.
Well, he’s certainly been given heaps of chances and opportunities to carve his name into being thought of more as a big, bruising, brutish, boulder-like blueliner. But alas, I don’t think he has done anything more than that.
As with everything that we have once thought of to be great in the future, we are now in the stage of understanding what Morin is currently and just being happy for a former first-round pick to find some semblance of stability in the organization that drafted him. No mention of what other players the Flyers could have drafted instead (please) but only positivity of what he is now and just having a guy you can trot out to go and punch some dudes in their face.
Hell, he even scored a damn goal this season.
Sam Morin gives the Flyers the lead with his first NHL goal! pic.twitter.com/dyEPlE99W8— Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) March 27, 2021
Even as an overly critical blogger at the time, I had a big dumb smile on my face when Morin scored the eventual game-winner over the stupid and ugly New York Rangers in the dying minutes of regulation. An absolute clap-bomb from the point that ended up in the back of the net earned Morin his first NHL goal in a very cinematic fashion, with his teammates jumping and hugging, ecstatic to not lose another game.
His goal, in the grand scheme of things, didn’t mean much in the standings or how their season ended, but it was a monumental occasion for many Morin supporters to get a glimmer of confirmation and support for their belief that he can eventually still be some sort of tweener.
No matter what he is in the future or if he’s here beyond this upcoming season — I was personally even surprised he got re-upped and not just left alone to find another job somewhere else — his 2020-21 season is certainly defined by the one goal and being a rare shining light of positivity and fun in the weird season of Philadelphia hockey.
By The Numbers
Do the numbers even matter when it comes to Morin? Are we all worried he’s not producing enough points in his minutes? Are we lying awake at night, staring outside our bedroom windows down into the street outside of our apartment buildings, the streetlights shining upon and glaring on the bluish black garbage bags outside the local restaurants, head completely empty, all because Morin was only able to score one goal in 20 appearances?
Probably not and I think anyone really concerned over his counting stats might need to just chill and relax.
5v5 On-Ice Stats
Same thing basically here. Does it matter that the other team is greatly outscoring the Flyers when Morin is on the ice? Even though it’s a rare occurrence, he basically allows any player wearing a different jersey a direct path to the Philadelphia goaltender and a fresh and smelly 41.19 percent of expected goals share details that fairly easily. But the theme continues, does it matter when Morin is basically out there to bash some bodies and punch some faces? I would say: No.
5v5 Individual Stats
Again, not to beat a dead horse to a misty pulp, but do we really want to delve into the rate stats of Morin’s even-strength contributions? Punch stuff, fist go in face, score goal once.
Did they live up to our expectations?
It really depends on any consensus expectations. Did anyone expect Morin to battle his way into the blue line that already boasted some physical talent that slightly more experienced than him? If so, you’re probably lying.
He somewhat played his role perfectly and other than existing in the taxi squad, being a healthy scratch, or playing in the bottom of the lineup, he was able to bring one rare joy with his goal. I would say he adequately met expectations, but nothing beyond that.
What do we/can we expect next season?
If it’s more of the same, then that’s alright with me. With the Flyers’ transformation of the blue line it becomes much more difficult for him to break it — especially with Cam York and Egor Zamula busting down the door relatively soon — so he can spend some time in Lehigh Valley or he can just hang out all season long. A very important “just vibes” player.
How would you grade their 2020-21 season?
This is just unfortunate that we have to take Morin’s season and compare it to the rest of his teammates, because obviously he wasn’t as good and could even be thought of as the worst defenseman they had. It’s tough and I’m sorry. But considering that he scored that goal and brought some smiles, that certainly boosts him beyond some other players that even though they scored more points or had better numbers, were just a massive part in our misery.
Let’s give him a C-.
All stats via Natural Stat Trick and Capfriendly.