Jeremy Morin’s situation with the Chicago Blackhawks is unique, but simple; he might not make the team. Morin is currently in a battle with Jimmy Hayes for a roster spot. However, Morin does have what it takes to play at the NHL level. He has been compared to the departed Michael Frolik, and he could play in a depth role in 2013-14.
Morin has no problem scoring goals, something he did 30 times in 2012-13 for the Rockford IceHogs (Blackhawks AHL affiliate). Morin is a consistent offensive presence with good positional awareness, and a strong net drive. His shot is his best weapon, and not only places it with accuracy, but can generate rebounds with a powerful low shot. His awareness is exceptional at the AHL level, and this allows him to be in position almost all of the time.
Defensively, Morin is just as reliable. A hard skater, Morin never leaves himself out of any back-checking situation, and is adept at using his stick to knock away passes, or take the puck right off an opponent’s stick. Morin has worked hard on his defensive fundamentals, and is dangerous along the boards, where he can pin an opponent or use a stick-check, making him great in battle situations. One underrated aspect of Morin’s game is his physicality, and he uses his 6′ 1″ frame well, hitting opponents solid enough to knock them off the puck, or take them out of the play, and never leaves himself out of position while doing so.
Morin is also a huge asset on the penalty-kill, and scored an impressive 3 shorthanded goals in 2012-13. This is a huge plus for the 22-year old, with the aforementioned Frolik’s departure resulting in a big loss on the Blackhawks’ penalty-kill. His performance on special teams could make or break his chances with the NHL club this season.
Morin has two foreseeable options in 2013-14; play full-time with the Blackhawks in a depth role, or play the majority of the year with Rockford, but be the first to call if the Blackhawks need anyone to fill in on wing. The most likely option is that he will play full-time on the fourth line with Marcus Kruger or Brandon Pirri centering. I’m putting Jeremy Morin’s over/under at 8 goals, 15 assists.
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