Well, here we are again. It’s time to revisit the conundrum known as Samuel Morin. After a season marred by injuries, it was the announcement that he torn his ACL in the middle of May that ended the disaster of his 2017-18 season. He played only 15 AHL regular season games registering seven points, and only appeared in three AHL playoff games with zero points.
Thanks to a season lost to injuries the whispers of him being a “bust” have returned from the Flyers fan base. I’m here to say that just isn’t true. While the comparisons to Chris Pronger have dematerialized, you can not write him off entirely. There have been flashes of excellence from Morin, from strong breakout passes, to smart hits, and clearing the crease, the beauty is in his simplicity.
While it seems Morin has been around forever now, he only just turned 23 this past summer. Players rarely see the bad luck Morin has seen over the past 12 months or so. He inured his psoas muscle in his hip multiple times, then he finally tore it during the Phantoms outdoor game on January 20th before being shutdown until the second round of the Calder Cup playoffs. Morin then tore his ACL during the first period of game four, just two games after his return.
The biggest heartbreaker of his injury is the timing. Morin will no longer be waiver exempt, thus meaning he was almost guaranteed to at least have a roster spot at the start of this season. With his timeline still extending into February, plus a probably rehab stint with the Phantoms, he might lose most of the 2018-19 season. Though luckily there doesn’t seem to be any setbacks in his recovery, as he has frequently been on the ice before the rest of the team practices.
After the draft and free agency, there still isn’t anyone in the pipeline with the potential to bury Morin down the depth chart right now. Even with Chrisitian Folin and Andrew MacDonald around, Morin should be considered capable of bumping one of them out of the lineup.
There is some good news on the Sam Morin front, however, as he signed a new three-year $2.1 million contract on June 25, 2018. With an average salary of just $700,000, it is the ultimate “show me” bridge deal. This means maybe Hextall had more faith in him than he let on. Hexy had no issue waiting on prospects, so all we can do is hope Fletcher is just as patient.
The Flyers have struggled to find defenseman like Morin recently, with players like Andrew MacDonald and Brandon Manning not having the desired effects, and Radko Gudas being so hot and cold with his physical style of play, Sam Morin would fill a role that, while may not be huge, is incredibly important.
Morin seems nothing but positive about his return and potential to see regular NHL minutes. His tendency to step up for his teammates could be a big added benefit for his roster chances heading into the 2019 season. Yes, Morin is going to take penalties. While he will have to cut down from the 273 minutes he accumulated during his Phantoms tenure, as long as the majority aren’t bone-headed, the team and fans alike are sure to appreciate his effort.
We are going to have to wait patiently for Samuel Morin’s comeback, but should be excited for his return. Still up to two months away from returning, the current abysmal state of the Flyers might be beneficial to Morin, who will have his chance to come in and be the saving grace the Flyers blueline desperately needs.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: NHL.com