Morin played well in training camp and throughout the preseason, and started out the season on the Philadelphia Flyers roster, but has been sent down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Morin was likely kept on the roster as an extra defenseman on the season-opening road trip in case of illness or injury. He got valuable experience traveling and practicing with the club, though he likely should’ve got into a game or two.
Prior to training camp it seemed that Robert Hagg and Morin were the frontrunners for the final two roster spots on the blue line, but an impressive preseason forced Travis Sanheim into the lineup.
It seemed that even still Morin deserved a roster spot, perhaps over Sanheim, but it also has a bit to do with how the players fit on the roster.
The Flyers already have three defensive defensemen in Radko Gudas, Robert Hagg, and Andrew MacDonald. Although Sam Morin is more talented and better than MacDonald, and the veteran vs. rookie debate can rage on, Morin will get a chance to continue to refine his game in the AHL.
Meanwhile, Sanheim joins Shayne Gostisbehere and Ivan Provorov as the more offensive defensemen with the latter being more of a solid all-around stud. Brandon Manning can fill in for either category and is the ideal seventh defenseman.
Morin also only plays the left side, as does Provorov. Gostisbehere and Sanheim are also better on the left side. If one of the right-defensemen get hurt or struggle, i.e. MacDonald, I could see Morin coming up, Gostisbehere sliding back to the right side to play with him, and Hagg moving up to the top pair.
Morin made his NHL debut at the end of last season after playing 74 games in the AHL. Over two seasons in the AHL he has 35 points while playing in 150 of 152 possible games. He also played in all five playoff games last season.
Morin will undoubtedly be the Flyers’ first call-up if there is an injury on the blue line or if a trade is made. He is ready for the NHL and will be back up with the orange and black sooner rather than later.
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