When the Philadelphia Flyers drafted Sam Morin 11th overall in 2013, many believed they found their backbone for their blue-line. A big-bodied, hard-nosed, no nonsense backbone that the Flyers hoped turned into 15-year-veteran (at the time) Zdeno Chara.
At 6’7″, Morin was the tallest Flyers defenseman inside the organization. But, after 7-years, two ACL surgeries, & only 9-career games to his name, that has not been the case.
After tearing his ACL for the 2nd time last season, many questions arose that would Morin continue to push for the NHL. That question, at the time, was an obvious yes from Morin. However, now we know why.
With a logjam now on the Flyers blue-line, Morin is giving it one last go to make the Flyers as a left-winger. Yes, you are reading that correctly, a left-winger.
“Going to give him a try on left wing, at least to start the season,” GM Chuck Fletcher said. “We are deep on D. This is Sam’s best chance to be with our team up here; add size and physicality. Has been working at it a few months.”We think there is a realistic chance he can positively effect our team in that role.”
After playing only 9-games with the Flyers as a defenseman, Morin will now look to become a full-time NHLer as a winger. A move that brings a ton of questions & also some hope.
But, for Morin, something doesn’t add up. Even with the Flyers logjam on defense, Morin had a better opportunity to make the team as a defenseman than a forward.
On defense, Morin was battling Mark Friedman & Shayne Gostisbehere for the Flyers 7th/8th defenseman roles. Now, Morin is battling Linus Sandin, Wade Allison, Carsen Twarynski, & Morgan Frost to even make the team. Then, has to battle it out with the same Flyers wing core from last season to get into the lineup.
While it’s a hard road to climb for Morin, it may have an easier road than some think. A road that resembles around the one thing missing on the Flyers. An enforcer.
“I think you see it in the playoffs, size is an important element of winning,” GM Chuck Fletcher said. “Having a physical component to your lineup is incredibly important. There’s certainly a lot of teams in our division that are big physical teams. We think this will help us in that regard.”
One of Morin’s best attributes is his size and physicality. Never known for his scoring touch, Morin rose through the junior ranks as a physical, tough, fighting defenseman.
If the Flyers believe Morin can add this to their game, it is an easy, cheap in-house solution to the problem. But, it’s hard to believe Morin will just step right into the role. Especially after head coach Alain Vigneault’s comments earlier in the offseason.
“I believe Sam needs some time in AHL before competing,” Head Coach Alain Vigneault said.
If Morin can find a role on the Flyers left wing, it is a good story for Morin who has battled through so much to make it to the NHL. If Morin can’t its just an odd ending to a once promising young defense prospect for the Flyers.