When the St. Louis Blues stepped to the podium at the 2014 NHL draft and selected forward Robby Fabbri 21st overall, it looked like they had a star in the making. Just 123 games into his NHL career he tore his ACL in February of 2017. Seven months later when he made his return to the ice in training camp, he re-injured his ACL and subsequently missed the whole 2017-18 season.
Meanwhile In Philadelphia, defenseman Samuel Morin taking part of the Phantoms 2018 playoff run when he tore his ACL. He made his return in late March of the 2018-19 season and played five games with the Flyers. Morin made the Flyers roster to start the 2019-20 season, but didn’t get a chance to crack the lineup on a full-time basis. Rather than sit in the press box the organization sent him down to the Phantoms on a conditioning stint where he suited up for thee games before again tearing the same ACL he injured just a year-and-a-half prior.
Fabbri returned in time for the Blues Stanley Cup run in the summer of 2019. He scored a single goal in 10 playoff games and was traded to the Red Wings on November 6, 2019. Fabbri went on to score 14 goals and 31 points during the 2019-20 season, his best output since his rookie campaign in 2015-16.
Fabbri overcame years of injury and wrongful deployment and has become a successful reclamation project for the Detroit Red Wings. Having to overcome similar long odds, can Samuel Morin follow suit?
Samuel Morin has remained in Philadelphia during his rehab and has been skating with the Flyers since early February. He has continued to workout during the season pause and was one of the first players to return to the ice when New Jersey lifted their coronavirus restrictions. By all accounts, Morin has continued to have a positive attitude about a return.
A key part of Fabbri’s story that Morin could be faced with in the not-too-distant future is a fresh start. Morin has one year left on his deal that pays him $700,000 a season. With a crowded Flyers blueline, it is a possibility he winds up on another team, most of which would probably give a chance to the 6’7 defenseman. Though, the Flyers only have four defenseman signed for next season, as Justin Braun, Robert Hagg, Phil Myers, and Mark Friedman are all due contracts during the upcoming offseason. Myers is the only one that is a likely lock to return, so if Morin is healthy, his extremely low cap hit could be a way for the Flyers to keep their salary low on the blue line for one more season.
If Samuel Morin can make yet another return to the ice for the 2020-21 season, for whatever team it may be, sitting idle can’t be an option. If he stays with the Flyers, there’s no way he can sit in the press box for weeks on end again. The only way Morin can essentially re-learn to play and regain his confidence is with copious ice time. With any luck, Samuel Morin will find his stride and become an everyday NHL defenseman, finally proving seven years after he was drafted that he can hold his own at the NHL level.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
Photo credit: detroitnews.com