Photo by Amy Irvin/38Photography
Sam Morin has been compared to Chris Pronger. In fact, everyone is Chris Pronger. In fact, by reading this piece, you’ve likely taken the first step to becoming the next Christopher Robert Pronger.
Now, I’ve already gone over the realistic expectations of Sam Morin, and how Braydon Coburn is likely the end result of Morin’s development. This isn’t going to rehash the expected curve, but rather serve to set the stage for what Morin should do to stay on track for the development.
Coburn’s career is noted by something very important, he wasn’t a full time NHL player until his age 22 season. And prior to age 22, his only NHL experience was on an unremarkable set of Atlanta Thrasher teams and the historically bad 2006-07 Flyers. Sam Morin is 20, like 20 year old Coburn, he’s in the AHL.
Morin doesn’t need a callup this season to justify being picked or to avoid being declared a bust. In fact, quite the opposite, Morin needs to make the best of his time in the AHL, he should do everything possible to learn as much about the game as possible and build chemistry with fellow future Flyers Shayne Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg.
Right now, the best thing for Morin is to just stay healthy and keep himself in the Phantoms lineup; there’s no pressure to make the team right now, while he might be an upgrade over Nick Schultz, the Flyers need Morin ready for next season more than they need him right now. This season isn’t a tank season, with the Devils and Hurricanes in full on rebuild mode and the Blue Jackets flailing, the Flyers have a decent shot to make the playoffs this season. Let the current team handle that, if callups are needed, Morin can come up to play, but if the bottom falls out and a tank job is needed, bring Andrew MacDonald back instead, he’s a known bad possession player who would help the tank cause.
Sam Morin can be a future top pair defender, he’s likely a second pair defender due to the fact that Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim have higher ceilings, but right now, patience is the key with Morin. Bringing him up for a 8-12 minutes in the NHL will stunt him, rather than helping him grow. And not getting a callup this year is not a reason to call Morin a bust either.
Of course, the reverse is also true, if Morin doesn’t perform in the AHL or worse, goes down to the ECHL and struggles, then we can revisit the labels. But until then, there is no reason to see this as a make or break season for Morin.