Flyers' tall and tough new defenseman

Posted: July 10, 2013

FROM THE time Sam Morin first put on a pair of skates at age 6, he was engaging in fights with kids bigger and older than he was. The Flyers' first-round pick in the recent draft plans to bring that same aggressive style to Philadelphia.

At 6-6, 206 pounds, Morin was the tallest player selected in this year's draft and is considered to be an enforcer on the ice. Last season with Rimouski Océanic, of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the defensemen tallied four goals and 12 assists in 46 games.

While he had been expected to go in the mid-to-late first round, Morin was selected with the 11th pick.

"I think if the Philadelphia Flyers didn't pick me, I would not have passed the 14 spot," Morin said. "Some people think I'm not where I'm supposed to be, but I think so."

Former Flyers defenseman Kjell Samuelsson, currently an assistant coach for the AHL Adirondack Phantoms, is putting his faith in the organization's scouting system.

"I never saw him play, but the whole organization was high on him so you have to put your faith into the scouting," Samuelsson said. "They were high on him and they picked him when they wanted to."

Morin, who turns 18 on Friday, began to participate in the Flyers' 2013 development camp on Sunday. The top pick is working on the transition to the professional level and said he wants to gain weight this summer to improve his physical game.

Yesterday, Morin worked on multiple drills, including a speed and agility workout in which he finished first. Despite his size, many scouts were impressed by his mobility and puck-handling skills.

"I don't know what our expectations are,'' said Flyers assistant general manager John Paddock. "He is still a young kid who is not even 18 yet, but when you see him out on the ice, you see . . . he has a lot of potential, he has a lot of ability and he has a chance as he matures and strengthens and gains experience to be a really good player."

While there are still questions about Morin's overall game, not many can question his willingness to drop the gloves and fight. He spent 117 minutes in the penalty box last season and claims to have never backed down from a fight.

"I think I like to be physical," Morin said. "When I am tough and when I play hard, my team wins, and I have to continue to play like that."

Morin developed the reputation of being a bully on the ice during his time in the QMJHL, but his aggressiveness dates to his childhood in Canada.

Morin is getting his first taste of playing alongside other Flyers' prospects. Second-round choice Robert Hagg, also a defenseman, had his first chance to match up against Morin yesterday.

"Going up against Sam Morin was tough," Hagg said. "He was pretty big and pretty strong, too. It was pretty tough to get past him."

Until training camp starts, Morin will continue to familiarize himself with Philadelphia. Even though he likely will return to junior hockey next season, he will not take that approach at training camp later this summer.

"The coaches told me to skate hard and fast and to work hard. They all said we have to have fun here, and it's not training camp yet," Morin said. "When I come here for training camp, I will give all that I have and I won't come here and not expect to make the team. I am coming to make it and I'll prepare for the junior league, too, but I won't come here just to watch other guys skate."

DN Members Only : Eric Lindros is up for Hall of Fame selection today.

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