Sam Morin nearly made the Flyers roster out training camp last year. The 20-year-old defenseman and 2013 first-round pick impressed the team’s brass with his consistent play and presence during practices and exhibition games but ended up as one of the final cuts.
Rather than suiting up for the Flyers, he returned to his junior team for the third straight year. In 54 regular-season games with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the 6-foot-7 prospect scored seven goals, had 24 assists and was a plus-12 – and added eight points in 11 playoff games. He missed five weeks of the season with a broken jaw after getting hit with a puck.
He also won a gold medal playing for Canada at the World Juniors.
Known for using his physical style of play as well as his offensive abilities, especially a nasty shot from the point, Morin had an excellent sophomore season. Now, he hopes to take the next step in his career this fall and make the roster.
“All the time my goal is to make the Flyers,” Morin said last month during the organization’s Development Camp. “I am trying to impress all the time. I am going to keep working hard and hopefully make it a hard decision for them again.”
He is up against some long odds to break camp with the parent club, though. There is a log jam at the position as the Flyers head into camp, which starts on Sept. 17.
They have eight defenseman signed to one-way contracts in front of him and a handful of highly-touted prospects, including this year’s first-round pick Ivan Provorov, who is also in the mix.
While he has high expectations, Morin won’t be devastated with falling short of his ultimate goal. Since he is too old to go back to juniors, Morin would be sent to the the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, where Scott Gordon, who coached the Islanders, takes over for Terry Murray.
“I am ready to play for the Phantoms if I don’t make the Flyers,” Morin said. “I think that would be really exciting to be playing professional hockey after playing in juniors the last two years. I want to just keep playing and getting better. Playing for the Phantoms means I am also that much closer to maybe playing for the Flyers one day.”