Fighting for a future with the Philadelphia Flyers, Samuel Morin is finding new life by changing from defenseman to left-wing.
If you had Samuel Morin changing positions on your wacky 2020 hockey bingo board, you win. The former defenseman capped off an already strange hockey year by making the switch to the left-wing. Upon the announcement, you miss blame if you assumed it was a misprint. Has Flyers’ general manager Chuck Fletcher gone full mad scientist? If you asked Morin, he would tell you this is a part of his journey.
Experience Before the Flyers
In football, it is common to play a position on both sides of the ball. For example, I played tight end and linebacker. The same goes for hockey. Becoming a defenseman after starting as a forward offers insight on how to shut down some offensive schemes. Morin made the change to defense after a couple of years in junior hockey.
“I was a forward a couple years in minor hockey, but I switched to defense pretty quick.”Samuel Morin; 12/31/2020
Based on what we understand about Morin playing left wing in junior hockey, we’ll assume that was during 2011-2012 with Rimouski Oceanic. During that time, he tallied 8 points (all assists) in 62 games. He made the QMJHL All-Rookie Team in 2011-2012. If Morin did play left wing in 2011-2012, the position change makes a little more sense.
“I didn’t know if we were going to have an American League or even if they were going to play, so I needed to have a plan because I’m fighting for my career right now. I’m fighting for another job. Obviously, I did all this because I wanted to keep playing hockey. I am really excited, honestly. Just to have a shot.”Samuel Morin; 12/31/2020
The Philadelphia Flyers are deep on defense. At the beginning of 2019-2020, Morin was in those plans. Unfortunately, he suffered a second torn ACL. His determination never faltered, which is why Alain Vigneault suggested the change. His unique background is giving him another chance.
Stepping Back On The Ice
Vigneault suggested the position change to get Morin back on the ice. Building confidence is key for his reintroduction to hockey. Mentally, the opportunity for Morin to be back with the team instead of the rehabilitation room is doing wonders.
“Even right now, we’re having some scrimmages and I feel every day I’m getting a little bit better. I got a couple goals today so I was happy about that.”Samuel Morin; 12/31/2020
Aside from the mental toughness, Morin needed to test his skating legs. He feels good but understands the work in progress. Taking one day at a time is the best method after the previous injuries. The next step is building confidence at a new position, which it sounds like Morin is.
Making the Position Switch
How It Could Impact the Flyers
Involved in suggesting the position change with Vigneault and Fletcher was Ian Laperriere. During the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Flyers didn’t play as physical as they needed. Speed on the opposing teams ruled Philadelphia. One way to counter speed is with physicality. Enlisting Morin, hungrier than he’s ever been, means the Flyers could be the ones pushing players around.
“Those big guys playing physical and even fighting. It’s something that I’m willing to do. If I want to make the NHL, if I want to make it, I need to play physical and fight.”Samuel Morin; 12/31/2020
Morin might be the ‘Broadstreet Bully’ that Philadelphia is currently missing. The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning were two quick teams that gave the Flyers fits in 2019-2020. Wise beyond his years, Morin took notice of that.
“The big guy that I watch a lot of his clips, even right now I watch about 20 minutes today, is Matt Martin from the Islanders.”Samuel Morin; 12/31/2020
Through 2019-2020, Matt Martin scored three goals against Philadelphia. If the Flyers had a lead against the Islanders, Martin was there to tie the game. Morin notices how efficient Martin’s game is, modeling his approach after it. Even if the position change is ultimately temporary, Morin’s honest approach to the switch could prove valuable to Philadelphia.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire