Flyers D Sam Morin Out Until February with Torn ACL
When the Flyers start putting the pieces together on the 2018-19 roster, they will certainly be looking to inject more youth into the mix. For one prospect defenseman, the rough road to the NHL full-time continues after another unfortunate injury.
It's been a trying year for Sam Morin, the Flyers first-round pick in 2013. Unfortunately, the prognosis was not good for Morin on his most recent injury. Morin left Game 4 of the Phantoms series against Charlotte and it was confirmed that he is out with a torn ACL. The timeline for his return puts him on track to be available around February 2019, several months into the upcoming season.
It wasn't so much a number of injuries for Morin this season as much as one or two nagging injuries that kept him out of the lineup. Morin played in two games with the Flyers and only 15 games with the Phantoms due to injuries. He had no points in the NHL and seven points in the AHL. Morin returned from one injury in the Calder Cup Playoffs, only to suffer the torn ACL in just his third playoff game.
That just capped off as difficult a year as the 23-year-old has seen in his playing career. Morin is typically an upbeat personality in the locker room and remained positive and confident through constant battles with injury. Now, he has to endure an extended offseason.
Morin is a restricted free agent this offseason, but he'll almost certainly be re-signed. He can start the season on the injured/non-roster list. Morin remains determined to be the player he feels he can be at the NHL level when healthy, and GM Ron Hextall is also not even close to giving up on the 6'7" defenseman.
"There’s a lot of stuff going on, but I’m a really confident guy and I think I can play in the NHL when I’m healthy," Morin said to the Courier-Post. "I just need to get a little bit of luck on my side and I think I will. It’s been a long process for me, a long road, but I’m gonna make it."
"People tend to forget that Sam’s been a healthy player for the most part in his career prior to that," Hextall said to the Courier-Post. "We’re writing this off as -- he had a tough year, there’s no doubt about it in terms of the injuries. We don’t think any less of Sam than we did in September of last year. We still have high hopes for Sam and we know he’s gonna turn into a good player for us."
The Flyers have a crowded blue line of prospects and veterans. Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, Robert Hagg and Travis Sanheim all became established parts of the Flyers lineup last season. Phil Myers is also making a name for himself at the AHL level. In addition, the Flyers still have Andrew MacDonald and Radko Gudas under contract and could be in the market for another veteran free-agent defenseman to fill the seventh defenseman role.
Regardless, it's a long road back for Morin, who will now have offseason surgery and be out for upwards of nine months before being able to make a comeback. After a season where he played just 20 games total between the regular season and playoffs across two leagues, it's going to be another trying year, but one that the confident and upbeat defenseman should be able to handle head-on.
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.