You won’t catch me defending much about the Philadelphia Flyers organization these days, but Samuel Morin is someone I’ll gladly be a martyr for. If for some reason you missed it, some mouth breathers had some very not nice things to say about our tall friend Samuel Morin, well, I’m here to say that he absolutely deserves a chance in the NHL.
After making a comeback from a second torn ACL in a 19-month window, some rather stunning news came out this past summer when he was switched to a forward instead of his natural defense. While it was a whacky move, it wasn’t totally unwarranted. On paper, the Flyers defense should have been very deep and there was theoretically no room for the returning Morin. Moving him to forward would give the coaches a chance to use size and skillset without having to disrupt the defense core. The logic behind the move was sound if all the pieces fell in the right place, but that didn’t end up happening.
Every single one of the defensemen on the roster has underperformed and Morin didn’t have quite the flawless transition to forward as they had hoped. He wasn’t terrible as a forward, but he was generally ineffective and often seemed like he would revert to a defenseman when the puck entered the defensive zone.
When Morin got sent back down to Lehigh in late February he was deployed mainly as a defenseman because the Phantoms needed bodies on the blueline and he started playing well at his natural position. He stayed on D for the entirety of his month-long tenure before being recalled by the Flyers where he was deployed as a defenseman in his first game back.
The biggest factor Morin has going for him right now is simple- why the hell not give him a chance?
The team is desperate for a change. They took their fourth major loss in eight days, and according to Fletcher the trade market hasn’t opened up yet despite being oh so busy working the phones, so what other options do they have except try some interior fixes? They’ve already tried the Nate Prosser experiment with disastrous results and the only other guy who has been on the taxi squad at some point this season was Derrick Pouliot, not exactly an enticing option.
Is Samuel Morin the next Chris Pronger? No, of course not. That comparison was made eight years and two torn ACLs ago. But at 25 years old, the organization is still unsure of what Morin can bring to the table. Last night was just his 14th NHL game dating back to 2016. Give him an extended look as a defenseman over the next few weeks and see if he can hang at the NHL level. This team is at rock bottom, so what does it hurt giving Morin a chance?
There are very few people in the league who have a 6’6 220lb frame and there are few players who are more intimidating than Morin. He put that on display late in the Rangers game when he easily dropped Brendan Lemieux, who is a tough customer in his own right, in a quick fight. He’s going to be phsyical. He’s going to take penalties. He’s going to be slower and clumsier than other defensemen. So what? The physicality is his speciality and when done properly can be an effective tool. He won’t show up on the heat maps and pie charts? So what? When the team is this far gone your number six defenseman shouldn’t be the piece fans are most angry with anyway.
If you want to take your frustrations out on the bottom guys, more power to ya. But when a guy is given a chance, at least let him sink or swim before preemptively jumping to conclusions and hating him. He may even have a good game and be a minor ray of light in this pit of darkness.
Food for thought.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nbcsphilly