The Flyers are looking to redeem themselves, and make the playoffs this coming season. They are trying to become a consistent hockey team, and that first starts with coaching, “I’ll go back to what I just mentioned about the way I prepare my teams,” Alain Vigneault said when he was hired, “I think that will have a very solid impact. Let’s not shy away from the players’ responsibility in this. It is their responsibility to get themselves in that mental state, that mental zone where you go out on the ice and you execute, you perform and you compete. I’m going to make sure that each and every one of our players understands his part in this. I am and my staff are going to our part as far as giving them the information that they need for the upcoming opponent and what they need to do have success as a team against that opponent.”
With the roster and coaching overhaul that has ensued this offseason, there is still one glaring hole missing from the Flyers roster, toughness and grit. It just adds another level of energy, and the skilled players will not get pushed around or off the puck as often. After the Flyers moved on from Wayne Simmonds, and now Ryan Hartman, the Flyers are lacking that energy guy that can stick up for skilled players such as, Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom, and Travis Konecny. The Flyers could ill afford to lose one of these players for a five-minute fighting major.
Currently, Tyler Pitlick stands as the lone guy that can be physical, however, his game has been inconsistent due to injuries. A wrist injury kept him out eight weeks last year, and an upper-body injury also kept him sidelined for a few weeks). In addition, Pitlick only managed to register six Penalty Minutes in 47 games played last season. All in all, the Flyers cannot rely on Pitlick alone for this type of service.
Toughness and grit will add another dimension to the Flyers offense. It can provide energy. Lay a big hit and see if that doesn’t provide energy for a club. If the Flyers want to take the next step this season, they cannot wait for NAK or Kurtis Gabriel to get called up to the big club due to injury. The time is now for Samuel Morin to get a shot, as he could provide that level of toughness and grit.
Morin should stay up with the big club following a good training camp, as he is no stranger to laying a big hit or dropping the mitts. He has overcome multiple seasons where he endured injuries and rehab. Now Morin is primed more than ever to make the club for good, as he has been working out at the Flyers Skate Zone since the season ended. Moreover, Morin would also make players fear to come into Carter Hart’s crease, with “Big Sam” standing in the way. Look at this video below, as he drags a player around like a “Ragdoll”:
It’s about time this 24-year-old in Morin gets to make an imprint with the orange and black. Drafted by the Flyers in 2013 at 11th overall. Morin has primarily seen action with the AHL Lehigh Valley Phantoms. However, Morin did see time with the Flyers last season, as he returned to full health from an ACL injury. Morin is no longer waiver exempt, so that was partly the reason he saw time with the big club last season. For the season, he registered 0 points in 5 games played, but managed to register 4 penalty minutes. Morin did look pretty solid, and he said he felt pretty good after his first game in almost two years, “I think I’m a good skater. It was a good test tonight. Obviously, one of the fastest teams in the league. So, I’m pretty happy about my game, and going to build on it. My first game after two years.”
This young defenseman cannot hide in the Phantoms system any longer. Morin deserves a shot, as there aren’t many players that work harder than him. The young giant cannot sit longer in the great farm system the Flyers have developed, for Morin, the time is now.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Jamey Baskow, 34, Flyers Guru, Sports Enthuiast
Follow me on Twitter@JameyBaskow