Ben Smith journey was longer than most NHL prospects. Smith was drafted in the 6th round of the 2008 NHL draft. Smith spent all four years at Boston College and then three seasons with the Rockford Ice hogs before making the Blackhawks last season. Smith had spent some time with the Blackhawks (20 games from 2010-13) before last season. When Smith was finally given his chance last season, he appeared in 75 games recording 26 points (14 goals and 12 assists) for a 3 plus minus rating. Smith impressed the Blackhawks so much that even saw sometime at second line center last season.
As it currently stands Jeremy Morin is on a similar path to the NHL. Morin was drafted in the second round of the 2009 NHL entry draft. Morin has played at Rockford since 2010-11. Morin in his three AHL season scored 56 goals and 54 assists. This past NHL season Morin appeared in 24 games with the Blackhawks recording 5 goals and 6 assists. Before this season Morin had played in 15 games with the Blackhawks total.
In my mind Morin can be this season’s “Ben Smith”. Morin has paid his dues in the AHL with Rockford. Morin hopefully has worked on his defensive game enough to impress Coach Quenneville and his staff. In many predictions Morin should be on the Blackhawks fourth line this season just as Smith was last season. Morin brings some offense to a fourth line that severally lacked it. Morin hopefully will bring energy to the fourth line just as Smith did last season. Morin also can bring some physicality to a fourth line that is now without a goon.
Morin should be able to give the Blackhawks some much needed juice to their lineup. Morin can provide the Blackhawks with a hunger and desire to remain a member of the team. Morin is playing for his NHL life with the Blackhawks every shift. Morin does not want to be sent back to Rockford. That would be the same hunger that Ben Smith brought to the team last season. Jeremy Morin can be the next Ben Smith; he just needs to EARN a chance like Smith did last season.
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