During a press conference Thursday, Philadelphia Flyers General Manager announced that the organization decided to move defenseman Sam Morin to the left wing. The news comes as a surprise to those outside the franchise; however, Fletcher claims the move has been in the works for the past few months. Although originally shocked by the idea, Morin has been working at his new position for the past few weeks.
After Philadelphia selected Morin 11th-overall in 2013, the young defenseman continuously fought obstacles slowing his NHL progression. With two torn ACLs over 19 months, Sam Morin’s opportunity to crack Philadelphia’s defensive rotation appeared unobtainable. However unorthodox it may seem, positionally transitioning Morin to left wing might be the career resurrection he needs.
Sam Morin the Left Winger
Once one of the organization’s most promising young blueliners, Morin managed to only play 28 professional games between the AHL and NHL since the 2017-18 season. Though no fault of his own, injuries made him all but a forgotten asset on defense. Still, Morin’s determination and will, along with his 6-foot-6 frame, led Fletcher and the coaching staff to find ways to utilize his apparent skill.
Enter the move to the wing. After failing to exit the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs as the victors, it became clear that the Flyers needed to become a more physical team. Philadelphia failed at addressing that need through external options, forcing them to look within. Morin certainly provides that physicality and is a body opposing teams cannot push around. The question lies with whether a career defenseman can make successfully make the change to the forward position.
Of course, Morin would not be the first player to embark on this journey. He’s also doing his homework, watching video and modeling him game after Matt Martin. Ironically, the 31-year-old Martin was a name circulating around as a solution to Philadelphia’s physicality deficiencies. He’s a taller player that makes his living as reliable fourth-liner known for providing that physical edge. If Morin can successfully emulate what Martin provides, satisfaction will consume the Flyers.
A Low-Risk/High-Reward Move
For Philadelphia, no risk exists with this experiment. Sam Morin did not fit into the plans defensively. The Flyers are looking for a way to make value out of his presence within the organization. If Morin transition to the wing works, Philadelphia receives a physical, eager, and versatile fourth-liner. If it does not pan out, the Flyers look to other options. Morin is a mere $700K cap hit this season, with no contractual commitments after that.
Although Philadelphia can easily move past this if it fails, Morin is a player one cannot help but cheer for. As long as he remains healthy, he deserves a true shot in the NHL. Hopefully, this serves as that opportunity.
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire