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What They’re Saying: Flyers’ First-Round Pick Gets Bad Grades

Jul 1, 2013, 1:33 PM EDT


Judging by the responses in our comments section, many Flyers fans were excited by the selection of 6’6” Sam Morin at No. 11 overall in the NHL Draft on Sunday. Yes, he is a bit of project, but the potential sounds like it’s out of this world.

Others, predictably, were more concerned over where Morin was picked, which was much earlier than expected. Most prospect rankings put the 17 year old in the mid-to-late 20s – behind several defensemen the Flyers passed on in that spot – which would make him a late first rounder.

The day-after draft grades reflect those in the latter camp. Morin, a so-called “off-the-board” selection, was seen as a poor value at 11, earning a D grade from CBS Sports’ Chris Peters.

The Flyers really couldn’t afford to go with such a high-risk pick here in Morin. He is a giant, he’s tough and he fights and there is a lot of potential there, but Morin is very raw. He’s got a long way to go before he makes it to the NHL. However, if he reaches his full potential, he could be a top-four guy. That’s no guarantee, however. To me, it’s too early to take this kind of risk for Philadelphia. If drafting D, I think Nikita Zadorov would’ve been safer here.

The Flyers also got the “Draft Losers” stamp from Puck Daddy’s Ryan Lambert.

Philadelphia Flyers: Losers. Big-time off the board pick for Samuel Morin, who the Flyers would love to repeatedly remind you doesn’t have a lot of offense for where he was picked, doesn’t skate well, and wholly lacks in puck skills. Looks like they were enticed by his size (6-foot-6, 200-plus pounds), and little more.

Obviously draft grades are just for fun. Nobody can look at the draft today and know who’s going to pan out and whether teams won or lost. Still, it’s safe to say “reaching” for Morin there raised some eyebrows.

Although not everyone was shocked. Craig Button, hockey analyst for TSN and one-time Calgary Flames general manager, had Morin rated much more closely to where he was taken. In fact, Button correctly predicted the Flyers would select Morin in his mock.

>> NHL Draft Grades [CBS]
>> NHL Draft Winners and Losers [Puck Daddy]

  1. phillyfan76 - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    However, Grant Sonier from ESPN said this:

    “Philadelphia Flyers: A-
    Just watching the Flyers you know that defense is a need both now and down the road. Any time you can add a giant of a defenseman such as Samuel Morin — who brings skating and toughness — it is a winning situation. Add Robert Hagg, a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman and the Flyers answer their needs to improve their D corps.”

    Sports Illustraded’s Adam Muir says:
    “Some guys are meant to wear certain colors, and Morin was born to play in black and orange. This was an ideal pick for the Flyers, who desperately need a big, ill-tempered blueliner to make their zone a little less hospitable and to help restore that Broad Street Bullies image. He needs a couple of years to put it all together, but he’ll be worth the wait. They’re gonna love this kid in Philly.”

    So not everyone thinks the way CBS and Puck Daddy does.

    • jpdoc26 - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      Yeah, ESPN and Sports Illustrated … the two most trusted resources when it comes to NHL and hockey knowledge.

      (That was sarcasm)

      • phillyfan76 - Jul 2, 2013 at 2:41 PM

        Well, do you want to know what Bob McKenzie and Craig Button ranked/said about Morin before the draft? Are they more reputable for you? Yeah, that too was sarcasm. Are you stating that CBS is a more trusted source of hockey knowledge than ESPN and Sports Illustrated?

  2. ajm7719 - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Not a bad pick. Obviously they weren’t the only team to let Pulock slide and Zadarov they say isn’t as gifted for potential ceiling. The kid very well could be a bad pick but you also can’t teach 6’6″ and a big-time mean streak in him. This pick will help the goalie situation as he can clear the porch and keep guys from getting to the middle

  3. BenE. - Jul 1, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    I will gladly wait longer for a defenseman who is not NHL ready if the reward for the wait is a good as it sounds from fans of the Canadian junior leagues who have actually WATCHED this guy play.

    He is shut down defenseman potential. With all the talk of the Mike Greens and Kris Letangs of the league, there seems to be a lot less value placed on defensemen who actually excel at their position, ie. have that predatory instinct you just can’t teach. I’ll take the guy who is a force in his own end over 40 power play assists any day. Forwards score, but you need dmen like Morin, Schenn, and Grossmann to get the puck back and feed it ahead to the guys who are paid to score.

    • wcbuckner - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:28 AM

      Not to mention the fact that the kid is going to have Pronger as one of the guys grooming him. I’m giddy just thinking about it.

  4. DJ - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Outside of a guy like Seth Jones, there’s no way to predict how any of these guys are going to turn out. Who’s going to be a future captain of a franchise, who’s going to bury home a Game 7 game winner for the Cup, who’s going to play an entire career for one city. You can’t do it.

    There’s too many other factors at play. Free agency, trades for immediate players, player development, spots on rosters, injuries are just a few of the things that come into the picture as to why you can’t predict how a person will turn out three to five years down the line.

    Four to five years later you can analyze a draft pool and figure out what team drafted best and which drafted worse. No way to do it prior.

  5. ToddS - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    As Chip Kelly would say: “Big people beat up little people”. Unlike CBS and Puckdaddy, most of the scouting reports I’ve read also say that he’s good skater with a big shot. He seems to have a very good work ethic and attitude which is huge if you’re counting on a guy to put the work in to reach his potential.

  6. 33 - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Looks like it’s become en vogue to grade NHL drafts the way media outlets do the NFL’s every year. What an incredible waste of time (them, not you guys for posting links to their takes). It’s so easy to get caught up in rankings of these guys we’ve never heard of before looking into who the Flyers might select. No one, not these writers (who have likely rarely if ever seen him play) nor the Flyers, know what this 17 year old kid will look like in a year or two. But of the two, I’m willing to bet the team has a better idea. They’ve made some pretty outstanding middle-of-the-round picks, with some duds too.

    But, there should be a rule of thumb: If you’ve never seen a guy play, you don’t get to grade him.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll join the critics by opining. Fixing the defense long-term wasn’t going to happen at the 11 slot. Based solely on what others have said, it doesn’t sound like either of the other D-men being discussed are going to be any more ready any time soon. That’s fine; you don’t get NHL-ready talent every time you go to the podium. With defensemen in particular, it’s a longshot to find someone who’ll be an impact player right away, very different than with forwards.

    The Flyers have a great QMJHL scout who brought them the likes of Claude Giroux (would love to see all the draft grades that year that said he’d be a video-game-cover caliber player), Simon Gagne, and Sean Couturier (although his talent level was pretty well known by others too). I’m willing to pin my hopes on his grade over a few hockey writers’.

    I’m certainly not ready to brandish the torches and pitchforks over drafting a project in the range where that’s all that was available.

  7. Bender - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Where is this not a good skater thing coming from? That was supposedly one of his strengths (relative to his size). Not that it wasn’t a reach at 11, but that report sounds like he’s Derian Hatcher in his late 30′s. And Hagg is supposedly a very nice 2-way defenseman who needs a few years of grooming but is definite top 4 potential. Probably more developed than Morin.

  8. willh888 - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    with all the rosterbating that goes on per fantasy sports, I can understand why an analyst would go overboard with their lofty conclusions. Kid still has a few years left in his teens though. Imagine what you didnt know or understand at 17, and compare that to your 20′s. Nothing wrong with a little risk factor when you’re trying to nail a dominator at the blue line.

  9. kingjoe1 - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Grades should not be done on whether the guy was picked too early. However if that were the case, getting in the 2nd round would be an A, since has top 20 grade by the same by at CBS

  10. Joe - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    As early as late May, Morin was rumored to be on a several teams’ draft boards in the middle of the 1st round. While they haven’t drafted d-men in recent years, the Flyers do have a recent history of getting a lot of value from their 1st round picks. I don’t think Morin would have fallen as far as the draftnics had predicted, if the Flyers had not taken him.

  11. DSD - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    I basically agree with everyone offering their opinions here. These people from CBS and PuckDaddy are the only experts who said that he’s a poor skater. Everything else I’m reading says that he’s a better than average skater. I think I wouldn’t have liked this pick as much if the Flyers hadn’t gotten lucky and had Haag fall into their laps. To me, Haag will probably will reach the NHL first. Looking at this from an outsider, I think the Flyers wanted Morin really badly and didn’t think he’d fall thru to the second round. Hard to imagine many other teams passing up his potential. I’d also be curious to see where other noteworthy big-defensemen, like Chara and Shea Weber were drafted. I’d be willing to bet that they weren’t first-round picks, but I could be wrong. I just think big defensemen like Morin are hard to put a ceiling on.

    • Stevie - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      Chara was #56 in the 1996 draft by the Islanders. Weber was #49 in the 2003 draft, picked up by the Predators.

      • nyphilsphan - Jul 1, 2013 at 6:31 PM

        Yup. And Chara was just a novelty pick for a bad organization. They traded him away for NOTHING (along with Roberto Luongo the same calendar year, I believe- Mike Milbury set that franchise back 15 years). And I know all this because my good friend growing up was a huge Isles fan and I went to every Isles/flyers game at Nassau with him- and watched Lindros manhandle their entire team every night.

    • 33 - Jul 1, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      It’s actually pretty amusing to look back on past drafts (I use the always-respected Wikipedia) and see which guys actually turned out to be worth a damn, and where they went.

  12. Puckducky - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Puckdaddy’s “writers” are as relative to Hockey news, as Perez Hilton is to world news.

  13. txflyer - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Interesting, shortly after Morin was picked I received the following message from a friend of mine in Montreal:
    ‘You know which team in the NHL has selected the most players from the Q league in the last 10 years? Not the Habs… :( No, it’s the Flyers. And they got a future pain in the ass one this first round again. Monster defenceman you got there,”

    Couple that with the fact that the Habs were trying to move up to pick him makes me think that we got a future stud d-man. My bet is that had the Habs been successful CBS and PukeDaddy would have praised it as savvy move and evidence of superior scouting on the part of the Habs staff. But then, it was a Flyer pick.

    • nyphilsphan - Jul 1, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      Exactly. Remember, the national media sees like Flyers pick some tough guy who’s going to lay some people out in this league, they jump all over it an criticize it. Hell, some of our own fans have been doing the same. But, remember, this is the same national media that’s stuck in the 1970s when evaluating Philly sports teams and fandom. It’s just a different slant on “throwing snowballs at santa claus”. When’s the last time the Flyers rolled out a truly dirty team? Think about that. Sure, we’ve had some tough players in the last 20 years (Lindros was a monster, he literally couldn’t help laying people out- he was just playing the game. Donald Brasher developed an offensive game when he was here. Primeau wasn’t dirty. The list goes on), but no more than any other team.

      We used to value toughness a lot more than we do now, and the change in philosophy had gotten us in a jam. This is a step in the right direction. We don’t need him to put up 75-100 points for him to be the solution to our second biggest problem (aside from the ever-present goal tending woes).

      But we will always be “The Broad Street Bullies” because we came into the NHL and took it by storm and won a few cups by throwing a bunch of criminals on the 4th and 5th lines. We upset the fine sensibilities of the hockey royalty up north. We’ll always be the dirty upstarts to most of the league. 100 years from now we’ll still be defined by it. Facts don’t matter when it comes to Philly for the national media, feelings do. Just accept it and move on.

      This pick was a no-brainer for a team desperately lacking in anyone who can intimidate or make wings think twice about pursuing the deep pass into the corners, or roaming the front of the net for deflections. This is Hockey- NHL Hockey, not Euro League. You NEED those players. Even if he isn’t Chara, he could have value to the team for the next 20 years. He’s 17 and STILL GROWING. Any other D man they picked there could just has easily been a bust: this one has a much lower FLOOR because of his size and a much higher ceiling. Smart hockey thinking lead to this pick. And I love it.

      • nyphilsphan - Jul 1, 2013 at 6:22 PM

        “sees it like this:” is what I meant to say…

      • nyphilsphan - Jul 1, 2013 at 6:24 PM

        Also, 3rd and 4th. Jeez. I need to get some sleep tonight.

      • nyphilsphan - Jul 1, 2013 at 6:25 PM

        And HIGHER floor. Christ.

  14. hitnrun - Jul 1, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Eh, if he’s their guy then you can’t fault them for taking him. It’s one thing if you think he’s not a first-rounder, but you can’t fairly criticize a team just because they messed up your mock if you don’t think the guy will be available for the team the next time they pick.

    With that said, this pick doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that Ed Sn….ehr, that the Flyers are looking to move away from the damn Bullies and into the 21st Century. Not that inspiring confidence in June is their primary concern, but if this doesn’t work out there’s going to be more hell to pay.

  15. DSD - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    I get the thought that Morin might’ve been a reach where the Flyers picked him, especially based upon the fact that teams tend to take big defensemen labeled as “projects” in later rounds. But, like what another poster said, if the Flyers management thought that he wouldn’t be there when the second round rolled around, I guess I can’t really fault the pick. We don’t know what was going on. Besides, this Haag kid they drafted also was a first-round talent in most of the mock drafts I saw. So if the Flyers came out of the first two rounds with two blue-chip first round defensemen…Hey, I’ll take my chances. Also, I wonder how these so-called draft pundits would react if the Flyers had taken Haag in the first round and Morin had fallen to them in the second. Would that have completely changed the way PuckDaddy and CBS would’ve viewed the Flyers draft? “The Flyers got a solid two-way defenseman in Haag in the first round, and managed to get a great value pick with Morin in the 2nd.” LOL, looking at it that way, I seriously think the Flyers felt that Morin was going to get gobbled up before their turn came around again, and simply got lucky when Haag was still there. All in all, with those first two round picks, I’ll take my chances that one of them will develop.

  16. Mike Dusak - Jul 1, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    Hard to pass judgement when we might not really find out how good/or bad the kid is for several years, but off the top of my head it’s a definite reach. But wayyyy too soon to tell, but still a reach.


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