The topic: How does torn ACL affect Samuel Morin's future with the Flyers?
Morin’s ACL tear and nine-month recovery prognosis is a significant setback but not overly concerning in eventually becoming an NHL regular. Lost time is the more immediate issue here. Morin will likely have 20-25 games with the Phantoms and potentially the postseason to regain the strength and mobility in his surgically repaired leg. As was the case with goaltender Anthony Stolarz’s knee, the concern is Morin doesn’t suffer a setback that would prolong an already long-term timetable.
Now that Morin is a restricted free agent having completed his entry-level deal, he will have to clear waivers once he signs his new contract. This is important moving forward as the trial and error phase of Morin’s career is now over. The Flyers no longer have the luxury of shuttling Morin back and forth to Lehigh Valley without exposing him through waivers, which presents a barrier.
The good news for Morin is that he was on the cusp of being an NHL defenseman. He doesn’t have an agonizing uphill climb up the organizational depth chart. Thankfully, he has the support of a very patient general manager and an organization that holds its prospects in high regard. Get healthy and prepare to compete for a job when training camp cranks up in 2019.
Morin's future with the Flyers was already in question before his torn ACL. Now it's even trickier because the former first-round pick is "probably out until February." It's been a rough go for the 6-foot-7 blueliner, especially considering many believed he proved enough in training camp last September to make the Flyers but didn't do enough. Then came a season from hell in Lehigh Valley mired with injury after injury and then the torn ACL.
Ron Hextall did not draft Morin, so he is not married to that first-round tag. In many ways, this season was Morin's best shot at cracking The Show with the Flyers and next year, even without the torn ACL, the path wasn't easy. But now it's one that won't even be crossed.
We can close the book on Morin in the NHL in 2018-19. It'll be spent mostly rehabbing his knee and then working his way back up the latter with the Phantoms. What's after that, who knows. It's part of the game and life is hard, but it's hard to see a future here that involves the 2013 first-rounder.
Morin was always a bit of a project ever since Paul Holmgren and the Flyers selected him in the first round of the 2013 draft.
Now that project becomes greater.
But it would be silly to think the Flyers are just going to give up on Morin or that he no longer has a future in Philadelphia.
This is why Hextall builds and builds and builds upon his organizational depth. It allows the team to be patient and see opportunities from all angles.
When serious injuries occur, everyone thinks the worst. And in 2019-20, Morin will certainly have to fight for his NHL job given the Flyers' crowdedness and youthfulness on defense, a battle he was already in before his ACL tear.
But he turns just 23 years old in July and won't cost the Flyers very much in the immediate future. Some may be tired of waiting, but you'll have to give Morin more time — and the Flyers won't have a problem doing that.