NHL Draft prospects: No. 22 Samuel Morin

Rimouski Oceanic defenceman Samuel Morin. (QMJHL)

Intro: Sportsnet.ca is previewing the top 30 prospects in the 30 days leading up to the National Hockey League draft in New Jersey on June 30.

The countdown continues with the second prospect from the Rimouski Oceanic in as many days with hulking defenceman Samuel Morin.

Stats: Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL) | 46 GP | 4 G | 12 A | 16 P | +10 | 117 PIM

Who is Samuel Morin?
Morin is a six-foot-six, 202 pound defenceman who skates well for his size. He was the seventh-overall pick in the 2011 QMJHL draft by the Oceanic and is living up to the promise his draft status would suggest. Morin suited up for Team Quebec at the 2012 under-17 world hockey challenge and played a big part on Canada’s gold-medal winning under-18 squad in April.

Samuel Morin’s scouting report:
Morin has such raw potential that there is no real consensus ranking among the scouting community. His skating ability at his size is an asset NHL teams will surely covet. He can move the puck well with an outlet pass and shows enough poise with the puck on his stick to seek out his best option. Morin doesn’t have an overwhelming shot, but it is utilitarian in that he generally gets it on net. He’s solid in his own end and uses his long reach beneficially. He’s one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft class, and it should be interesting to see where NHL teams value his potential on draft day.

Teams who might be interested in Samuel Morin:
While the Montreal Canadiens would probably love to draft him at 25, Morin may be long gone by then. The San Jose Sharks, for instance, could use some future help on the blue line. Recent draft history suggests the Sharks covet size among their defenders, but they don’t often draft from the QMJHL. Given Morin’s size and potential, he could go much higher than most anticipate.

Scout’s take: “He’s a monster on the ice,” says Ross MacLean, head scout for International Scouting Services. “He has tremendous size and moves very well for his size. While he is a good skating and decently mobile defender, he still has a lot of technical development left to do with his footwork. He has smooth hands for a big man and some decent offensive upside but his biggest appeal is that he is a capable two-way defender who has a ton of room to develop and who has the potential to be cultivated into a real stud defender.”

“Samuel Morin is another one of those players that just got better and better,” adds David Burstyn, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey. “I thought he really did himself favours at the under-18s. He just made really good decisions, was good on the big ice, used his size well, angled off players and his puck decisions were much better.

“He’s one of those players that’s just raw, but he played with a little bit of a physical edge. He certainly played up to his size. When you look at projection and you look at a guy of his proportions already, he’s just starting to scratch his potential. I wouldn’t make any comparisons to Zdeno Chara, but I’d say that he has the ability to play in the NHL in a top-four. You look at a guy like Jamie Oleksiak who got drafted 14th overall (in 2011) – Oleksiak might have been a little bit of a better skater, but I don’t think he has the puck skills that Samuel Morin does. Everything about Samuel Morin right now is just raw, but at six-foot-six, 205, he’s probably going to play at six-foot-six, 240 and those guys play.”

Rankings: Morin was ranked 23rd by the NHL’s Central Scouting (North American skaters), 10th by McKeen’s Hockey and 32nd by International Scouting Services>.

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