Matt Duchene: Is This Really His Last Season in Colorado?

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Matt Duchene has bled burgundy and blue since he was a little boy. The story of his longtime fandom culminating in the Colorado Avalanche drafting him third overall in 2009 is a great story that has touched all Avalanche fans since Duchene entered the league. In recent years, however, that feel good story has been jettisoned as the Avalanche have continued to struggle. Now that Colorado will finish in the NHL basement, yet again, the question that has been following the star Avalanche center looms larger than ever: is Matt Duchene’s time in Denver at an end?

The Rumors

Now this is not the first time that anybody has asked whether or not Duchene will depart from the Avs, far from it. That being said, this is the first time this question has ever had this feel with it; that feeling of inevitability. Previously the arguments never made any sense and, to a certain extent, many of the people still talking about this still don’t make much sense. The talk that Duchene can’t play defense, doesn’t know how to finish, doesn’t care, is a cancer in the locker room (yeah, somebody said that) just don’t make any sense.

Each of the past few seasons, some type of reason has come up to attempt to justify this trade and, until this point, it has always been unfounded.

The Facts

Duchene’s game has evolved throughout his years in Colorado. He went from a guy who was pretty much offense first, second, and last to a very responsible two-way player. Duchene’s face-off game alone has shown amazing growth; going from a 44% face-off man in his rookie season, to the best face-off player in the leage at 62% during this season.

Other facts to consider, since Duchene came into the league, in 2009, nobody on the Avalanche is even close to his production totals. Duchene is the leading scorer on the Avalanche (since coming into the league) by about 150 points. Now, it’s true that there has been a large turnover in players since that time, so let’s narrow it down a bit. Since 2011-12, when the Avalanche drafted Gabriel Landeskog, Duchene is the team’s leading scorer; and since 2013, since Nathan MacKinnon was drafted, Duchene is the team’s leading scorer. So for as much flack as Duchene takes for his streakiness, Duchene’s ability to score is definitely not a reason for the team’s overall lack of success.

Duchene has also never really dealt with injury. Only one season has Duchene missed more than 12 games, and that season he still came back and played on his injury far earlier than he should have. He also has years left on a very team-friendly deal that keeps him at a $6 million salary cap hit. All of these have made it an easy decision for the Avalanche to keep Duchene on their roster no matter how many times people jump up and smash that “TRADE DUCHENE” button. So why is it different this time?

Timing

I really think that the main thing to consider is the timing. Matt Duchene is now 26 years old, and has two years left on his contract, taking him to age 28. The big question that the Avalanche need to answer for themselves is this: how far away are the Avalanche from being a competitive team? At the moment, I have a hard time believing that the Avalanche are going to be a very competitive team for the next three to five years.

That begin said, it is possible that this is a overly conservative prediction. The Avalanche are going to have several young players that will likely be pushing to make contributions as early as next season. Players like JT Compher, Tyson Jost, and A.J. Greer will all likely be a part of the big team sooner rather than later. Throw in guys like Andrei Mironov, JC Beaudin, and Nicholas Meloche also possibly being thrown into the mix and suddenly it looks like there may be some much needed depth on the team.

So now we’re in the front office of the Colorado Avalanche assessing what is needed going forward. The Avalanche still have some holes and they need to figure out how to fill out the roster. Free agency hasn’t really worked, especially when trying to find defensemen. Maybe the best option is to pick one of the guys in the core to trade in order to bring back a legitimate NHL defender that can play 18-22 minutes every night. If I’m going to trade a guy that can get that kind of return, I need to be sure that that player can be replaced somehow and likely doesn’t fit into the window of success.

Can Duchene be replaced in the system? Maybe. There is a ton of promise surrounding Tyson Jost, and consider that the Avalanche will likely get a top offensive player in the draft this year, but there is no guarantee of it. Duchene also will be close to 30 by the time the Avalanche are likely to be truly competitive again. Both boxes are sort of checked off in this case.

There is no doubt that Duchene has been the team’s best player for a long time now, but his age relative the the position of the Avalanche system  and their likelihood of being a contending team again poses an issue. If the Avalanche were to trade Duchene, they cannot wait too long to do it, which means this offseason is kind of the ideal time. He’s still within the prime years of his career, his contract is still team friendly, and he would likely command a large return in a deal.

I hate the very idea of it, but looking at it from a purely business point of view, if the Avalanche do plan to move Matt Duchene, this summer would be the time to do it.

Colorado Avalanche Must Take the Long Road in Rebuild

Photo Credit: Brandon Andreasen

Nobody wants to hear this, but the Colorado Avalanche are about to launch into another rebuild. It appeared that the Avalanche were almost ready to make the turn into consistent, competitive hockey after the 2013-2014 season but it was not to be. Instead, Colorado finds itself in the same place it was almost a decade ago. With this in mind, the Colorado Avalanche must keep their eyes firmly set on the path and do it the right way, this time around.

Admit It

As most 12-step programs will tell you, admitting you have a problem is the first and most important step to success. For the Avalanche, they need to admit that they attempted to take short cuts for far too long and hurt the team’s future in the process.

It’s also time to admit that the team has managed their assets poorly for a long time. From taking an inexplicably long time to sign prospects that are clearly going to be a part of the team’s future to their entry-level contracts, to extending Brad Stuart before he had ever played a game for the Avalanche. Giving Francois Beauchemin and Jarome Iginla extra years on contract that include no-trade/no-movement clauses.

There are plenty more examples we could go through, but to do so is unnecessary. The Avalanche must admit to themselves that their “way” was not the right way and look for better examples to follow. The “Avalanche way” no longer exists; it’s a thing of the past and the Avalanche must let it go if they hope to ever become a competitive team again. So admit it, and commit to the right way to do things.

Accept the Process

We have now admitted that things haven’t worked out the way they were initially planned, so the team needs to start from scratch. One thing that this means for the team and fans is that restarting will be a painful process. The team will likely be bad for a few more years, but as long as the team manages to make appropriate decisions for the roster going forward, it can at least become losing with a purpose. Additionally, even if things don’t go as poorly as they could, the team needs to accept that this process is a long one that cannot be circumvented. Do not go throwing away draft picks to rent players at the trade deadline. Do not sign aging free agents to contracts longer than two years. Build the pipeline and take the time to do it right.

Get Young…Now

Joe Sakic has already said this is a priority for the team, though not enough happened to help that at the trade deadline. That being said, he didn’t have to do anything major at the deadline and didn’t. There are a number of players that will be coming off the books for the Avalanche that are 32 years or older, and they should be given their walking papers immediately. John Mitchell, Fedor Tyutin, and Rene Bourque all have no place left on the Avalanche and are in fact hurting the team by their presence as it keeps younger players from getting a shot. Cody Goloubef will also be a UFA and is the only of the group under 30, but he still doesn’t need to be a part of the Avalanche going forward.

It’s time to commit to the young players in this system and getting them the experience that they need to be successful is incredibly important. This, however, does not mean that you just throw guys in there. The communication between the minor league coaches and front office and the Avalanche coaches and front office must be constant. It will need to be a delicate balance of having enough veterans to fill out the roster but not so many it becomes impossible for you to give some of the younger players a chance. At the moment, this is a line the Avalanche do not walk very well.

Acquire Draft Picks…All of Them

This is one of the things that made the trade deadline such a disappointment for the Avalanche. One of the best ways to help your system rebuild is to acquire as many draft picks as humanly possible so you improve your odds of finding players you can develop into roster players. While this didn’t happen at the trade deadline, the Avalanche will have a few opportunities to move some players at, or before the draft to accomplish this.

DEVELOP

This is perhaps the area where the Avalanche have failed the most in the last decade. They must work as a partnership with their minor league affiliates and communicate better. It’s not enough to sign prospects and put them into the system and then just say “poof, develop!” It doesn’t work that way. Coaches throughout the system must work together to be on the same page. The Avalanche have failed miserably at putting the necessary people in place to develop their players, failed at communicating with coaches throughout the system, and have failed at getting players into the lineup with more than just injury call ups.

The Avalanche fans and organization have a long road ahead of them. It’s one that is going to involve a lot of difficult self-reflection and probably a lot of losing. It won’t be an enjoyable one, but as long as the team approaches it the right way and makes the right moves, everybody will enjoy the payoff at the end.

Colorado Avalanche: Was the Trade Deadline Good Enough?

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The Colorado Avalanche needed to have a positive trade deadline to attempt to salvage anything from this season. There was a little action, but definitely not the flurry of trades that Avalanche fans had hoped for. So how did the Avalanche with their deadline deals?

Jarome Iginla Traded for Conditional 4th Rounder

Iginla being gone is a plus. I don’t care that the return was negligible, if not basically nothing at all, this is addition by subtraction. We’ve been saying it for quite a while now. Iggy is old, broken down and can’t do it anymore, so why would anybody expect anything even moderately decent in return? Just because he’s Jarome Iginla? That only goes so far when he can’t keep up and doesn’t contribute. The fact anybody took him and opened up a roster spot for the Avs is a plus.

Avalanche Acquire Sven Andrighetto from Montreal for Andreas Martinsen

Martinsen to Montreal for Andrighetto was an interesting trade. Martinsen’s got potential to be an okay player, but Andrighetto’s ceiling seems slightly higher. Sakic talked about wanting to be younger and faster and Andrighetto checks both boxes there and has a better offensive upside. Decent addition for forward depth.

Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog Still Avs

I honestly didn’t expect anything less at this point. The Avalanche are not in a place where they need to trade either of these guys. Both have team friendly salary cap hits and have term left on their deals. There’s no rush. I do have a feeling one will probably be moved this summer, but that’s just me. The Avs would have been silly to not take anything other than a sweet deal for either of those two guys, especially given that Martin Hanzal deal.

Still A Lot of Fat to Trim

Too many old guys kept along. Now, while I understand there is a need to have some people on the team to expose to the expansion draft, the Avalanche have many expiring contracts for older players that are obviously not going to be in the plans going forward. John Mitchell, Rene Bourque, Cody Goloubef and Fedor Tyutin all serve no purpose to the Avalanche moving forward. They are also not exactly desirable pieces so, to a certain extent, I understand how moving them didn’t happen. Even so, it’s disheartening to not see a team that is in such need of more draft picks be completely unable to do get any. But, again, understandable. Comeau, I feel is kept around very specifically to be exposed to the expansion draft and Francois Beauchemin is, well, Francois Beauchemin. Who’s going to take that hot mess?

Conclusions

I have a hard time putting this season 100% on Sakic. He’s the GM so obviously he shoulders a portion of the blame, but this team, I feel it is important to remember, was put together assuming Patrick Roy would be the head coach before Roy just up and quit. Would the team look different had we always known it was going to be Jared Bednar’s team? It’s really impossible to say since we don’t live in that alternative universe, but I am inclined to believe it would probably be a bit different.

All in all, this deadline was not good enough. I won’t go so far as to say a complete failure, because they did manage to move a couple bodies, brought in somebody younger and faster, and opened up a roster spot for a younger system player, JT Compher. Still, the team needed to shed more dead weight and try to get any kind of draft picks in return and it just didn’t happen. Could they still trade negotiating rights before the draft? Sure, but if nobody was biting on the bodies at the deadline, the probability of this happening is whatever comes right before 0.

No, I don’t think it’s time to fire Joe Sakic, though he certainly isn’t immune. It’s readily apparent that the Avalanche are likely going to be bad for a few more years, so Joe has to show that he is capable of doing the rebuild job right. When Roy was here, people wanted to take short cuts because of that one good season. Roy wanted to win now and that cost the team a lot in the long run. No more short cuts. Asset management needs to improve in a big way. No more trades for over the hill defensemen, or UFA deals with 1 too many years on them. Draft well, which Sakic has done in the last few seasons. Develop the players and then give them a chance. Stop this Duncan Siemens type purgatory. At some point you need to know what you have, and you’ll never know if you just leave them in the AHL. The draft is going to be the next place the Avs can make moves and I wager they will.

Potential Trade Option for the Colorado Avalanche

Photo Credit: Brandon Andreasen

It’s no secret to anybody watching right now, but the Colorado Avalanche are a bad team. The Avalanche can’t win at home, can’t win back to back games, are the most mentally fragile team I’ve ever seen, and have trouble putting out respectable efforts in multiple periods. It’s no wonder that they find themselves at the bottom of the NHL.

How this could have come to pass is one question that could take up several blog posts; but rather than focus on how the Avalanche fell, let’s take a look forward.

Send Out the Senior Citizens

The Avalanche cannot possibly be thinking playoffs right now, and the roster has far too many players over 30. The Avalanche are not in a position to win now, or even win soon, so the faster the team can go young, the better. So here are some potential propositions.

Jarome Iginla to San Jose for Picks

Jarome Iginla doesn’t fit on this team, at all. He can’t keep up and it’s obvious. San Jose seems like a possible landing spot for Iginla as the Sharks’ style would fit his abilities. They are also a contending team that could give him one last run at a Stanley Cup. The return won’t be great, perhaps a 4th round pick or later, and the Avalanche may have to retain some of Iginla’s salary. That won’t be an issue in the long run, however, as Iginla’s contract is up at the end of this season anyways.

John Mitchell to Montreal for Mark Barberio/or Picks

It would be nice for the Avalanche to be able to pick up a young roster player with some of these potential trades, but it’s not always likely; especially whens ending away some of the lower level players.

I’ve chosen Montreal for John Mitchell because Montreal is currently hurting for depth at center with the rash of injuries they have had. Now Mitchell is not the type of player that is going to replace Alex Galchenyuk, but he could provide some much needed depth.

I will readily admit that I’m not terribly familiar with Mark Barberio, nor do I have much knowledge about how Montreal values him in their system. What I do see with Barberio is that he is a bottom pair player who averages about 15 minutes of ice per game. He has only played 10 games this season, but has amassed a 61.9 CF % in that time. They simply might not have room for Barberio in Montreal, where he might do well with a bit more ice time in Denver.

Again, I’m not very familiar with his game or style of play, but his analytics suggest that there is promise. If Barberio isn’t the way to go, or the Habs don’t want to part with him, then it’s never a bad idea to keep picking up more draft picks.

Francois Beauchemin to Pittsburgh for ANYTHING

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The trick in this one is Beauchemin’s No Movement Clause. If the Avalanche can get him to waive this, then you try to get him to anybody who will take him because Beauchemin has been terrible this season. I go with Pittsburgh on this one because Pittsburgh has had serious injury issues with defensemen this season and might be willing to put a veteran like Beauchemin in a depth position with little, if any, responsibility once their many injured defensemen do get back.

So how do you get Beauchemin to waive? You try to sell him on the idea of moving on from a team that he doesn’t fit with and that he isn’t going to be a part of next season anyways. Let’s be honest, if Beauchemin isn’t traded the Avalanche have to buy him out. Sadly he can’t be exposed to the Expansion Draft because of his NMC. Buyout or trade will be the only option.

Blake Comeau to Edmonton for David Musil & a Pick

There’s potential to add a few more pieces to this trade to make it work, but I could see Comeau possibly finding a home in the bottom six in Edmonton. Musil adds some more defensive depth to the system. He has a lot of size at 6’4″ and 207 lbs., and while he would be a project, could pay off in later years as a serviceable defender for the team. A pick helps give a bit more value to the Avalanche in this trade that would send an NHL roster player to the Oilers. Likely the Oilers’ third round this year, or second round in 2018.

Bigger Moves

Here’s where the waters get to be a bit murky. People want change, but some people want to scorch the ground completely. There is a narrative, and I’m not saying that it’s wrong, that it has been proven that this core of players can’t and won’t be able to get it done together. That there is no chemistry so the best thing the team can do is send them all out and start again from scratch. I don’t subscribe to that, but I do think that you can possibly send a couple people out. Here’s the players I send away, feel free to throw tomatoes at me when I’m done.

Tyson Barrie to Toronto for James Van Riemsdyk

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James Van Riemsdyk is a very solid top six player that has a lot of good jam to his game. He does will in the ugly areas. He will likely end up being a cap casualty as the young studs finish out their entry-level contracts in Toronto. Barrie has been abysmal, but maybe a fresh start with Mike Babcock would help out. I’m sure Barrie could be a better option for the Leafs on the blue line than Matt Hunwick. Right?

Gabriel Landeskog to Tampa Bay for Anton Stralman

This one is a bit of a twist from a proposal my buddy Dion made. His proposal is Landy+Barrie <—> Drouin+Stralman. I can get behind either, but I’m focusing on single players, so here we go. Tampa has several injuries they’re dealing with, including: Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, and Nikita Kucherov. Landeskog would fit in well with this group, and Stralman would be an excellent addition to the Avalanche blue line.

Tampa does have Stamkos on the LTIR, which means they get relief for his cap hit. Otherwise, this becomes a very difficult prospect.

Burgundy Brigade Podcast: Post Draft Edition

Aaron is back in the country again, and he joins Kevin to discuss the recent NHL Draft for the Colorado Avalanche. The boys talk about each pick and give an overall impression of the entire draft, which includes moves that the Avalanche both did and didn’t make.

Once the draft runs its course, Kevin and Aaron preview the impending unrestricted free agency to identify a few players the Avalanche should target. And, as always, they answer your questions from Twitter, Facebook, and The Burgundy Brigade hotline (720)477-3762.

Articles referenced:
Round by Round selections: http://bit.ly/29iGWYa
2016 NHL Draft Overview: http://bit.ly/28ZJJWj
Important of a Goalie Pipeline: http://bit.ly/290LczH

Colorado Avalanche Draft Round 7: Travis Barron

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With their final pick of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche select Travis Barron. Barron played in the OHL with the Ottawa 67s and is a left-shooting left wing.

Barron is 6’1″ and 187 lbs, so he has a bit of growing to do to fill out a pretty good frame. He’s a two-way player that has some good offensive finish to his game but it hasn’t really shown to be as consistent as teams would like. A project with a good middle/bottom-six potential.

Scouting Reports

Draftsite.com:

Powerful tenacious winger. and grinder candidate who loves to jam the front with abandon. At times has shown nice stick-handling skills and at times some elusiveness, but the fact remains there have been long stretches where he seems slow, behind the play and unable to form a cohesiveness with teammates to make “looks” that go into the back of the net. Truly disappointing growth, and his 15 goals (two in the five playoff games) can’t be viewed as reason to be excited if he still on the board in the third round.

The Hockey Writers:

Barron is an all-situations type of player, one who can excel on top penalty killing or power play units. After playing centre in midget, Barron has transitioned to a wing position in Ottawa, where his strong defensive play makes him a great asset. While he isn’t the type of player that can carry an offense by himself, Barron has soft hands and a fantastic shot that allow him to play in a top-six role. While only slightly above average in size (187 pounds), Barron isn’t afraid to throw his weight around and use his body to protect pucks down low.

While the physical play and two-way game are certainly there, it’s certainly a little disappointing to see Barron’s production not take off like many anticipated. However, the potential for more is definitely there, and if Barron can show more flashes of high-end potential down the stretch and into the playoffs, it might be enough for a team to take a chance on him before the end of the third round.

The Draft Analyst:

Barron is a feisty two-way winger who settled into a support role for the 67’s when it became apparent he wasn’t living up to his potential on offense. He has good size to compliment an unquestionable work ethic, and even though he was a bit of a streaky player, Barron was able to stick within Ottawa’s top-six as the games became more important. He was the third overall pick in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection and one of the 67’s top players in the postseason. Barron is bound to find gainful employment in the NHL. The question is in what capacity?

Numbers

Highlights

 

Colorado Avalanche Draft Round 6: Nathan Clurman

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With their sixth round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft, the Colorado Avalanche draft Nathan Clurman, another big defenseman but this time with a right shot. He was born in Boulder, CO and attended Culver Military Academy Prep.

He is 6’2″ and 198lbs., and will be attending Notre Dame next season.

Game Overview

Not much to see on Clurman as far as scouting reports are concerned. Basically, he’s god good size and is a pretty good skater but still has a bit of a project. Notre Damn will be good for him.

Numbers

Highlights

Colorado Avalanche Draft Round 5: Adam Werner

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With their fifth round selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche select Adam Werner, goaltender out of Sweden.

Werner is a HUGE goalie at 6’5″ and 198 lbs. He catches with his left hand and does have a good amount of international experience in his time playing.

Scouting Reports

There is very little out there on the web, but his numbers are fairly strong. The most I can find is on one of the HFBoards. He’s described as technically sound but still developing. His size is obviously an upside to his game.

Werner is 19 years old and, since he plays in Europe, is eligible to play in the AHL next season. Whether or not he will is yet to be seen.

Numbers

I could not find any highlights for him. Will be interesting to see what he does.

Colorado Avalanche Round 3: Josh Anderson

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With their third round selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche select defenseman Josh Anderson. Anderson plays in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars.

He has pretty good size at 6’1″ and 220lbs. Anderson is a defensive defenseman who punishes opponents in his own end. He is also not afraid to drop the gloves. Anderson definitely has a mean streak and opposing players know when he’s on the ice because they will be on their back side if they don’t.

Scouting Reports

The Draft Analyst:

Anderson is a heavy-hitting defensive defenseman with above average mobility who loves to mix it up and provide reliable play inside his own end. He’s an excellent crease-clearer who ensures any forward gets a wood massage to the back if daring enough to venture his way. Anderson’s upper body strength is significant — he is strong enough to tie up his man (and often someone elses) long enough to allow his goalie to react or clear a loose puck in the goal mouth. He hasn’t completely recovered from the back injury but was invited to participate in the interviews at the pre-draft combine. In terms of offense, don’t expect much of anything from Anderson, as he owns an average shot and in quintessential stay-at-home type fashion, only uses it when the puck finds him rather than the other way around. All things considered, he still has NHL potential thanks to his footwork and size.

Draftsite.com:

A big defender who basically handles his end and then some. Has a nasty streak as wide as his shoulders. Has very little up ice push, but makes his end a challenge for opposing players who are looking for him as much as the puck. A steady stay home guy who logs plenty of ice time, because of his feared presence. One of the younger prospects in the class.

Numbers

Highlights

 

Colorado Avalanche Round 2: Cam Morrison

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With the 40th overall selection of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, the Colorado Avalanche selected Cam Morrison. Morrison is a left wing with good size that played in the USHL this past season and will be attending Notre Dame.

He is 6’2″, 207 lbs. This is size that the Avalanche have to love though his skating is going to need a little bit of work as he develops. A bruising power forward, Morrison brings some serious muscle to his game. He creates havoc in front of the net and can bang home a lot of garbage goals.

Scouting Reports

EliteProspects:

A big, strong all-around player who thinks the game at a high level and executes plays with purpose and drive. Accelerates well and has no issues getting around the ice with haste; transition game will need some tweaks. Very good vision and puck skills, and has the size to make a difference driving to the net and causing havoc for the opposition’s defence. Defensively sound, using his size to his advantage along the boards and getting his stick in place to deflect passes out of harm’s way. Moving forward, Morrison will have every opportunity to develop into a smart power forward who can play in all situations and make it difficult on the opposition.

The Draft Analyst:

You might as well start calling him Mr. Touchdown, because watching this South Bend-bound monster on the ice is reminiscent of a bruising tight end who always finds the end zone. Morrison was named the USHL’s 2016 top rookie after winning the OJHL Rookie of the Year in 2015. He’s a classic power forward with a strong desire to get to the net and position himself to receive the puck in optimal scoring areas. Morrison, who boasts a heavy, accurate shot, plays like a bull in a china shop, but it’s generally done while under control and with his head up at all times. He can play either wing or center, but did the most damage on the flank of the Phantoms’ top line. While he’s known for collecting garbage goals from time to time, his vision and understanding of play development make him a legitimate playmaking threat as well. Morrison doesn’t have good separation speed, but he protects the puck well and makes sharp cuts to buy himself an extra second or two. Only 17 on Draft Day, Morrison will continue to bulk up as he utilizes the NCAA schedule while playing against older opponents.

Last Worst On Sports:

Cam Morrison is developing a solid two-way, power game. A natural goal scorer, Morrison has an excellent array of shots.  His wrist shot and snap shot are both hard and accurate, and feature a quick release. He is willing to use his size to drive the net, and has the hands to pounce on rebounds and get deflections when he is there. He is able to find soft spots in the opposition defence and get himself in open positions to get that shot off. Morrison is not a particularly creative passer, but he does create for his teammates through chasing down loose pucks, winning battles in the corners and then getting pucks to the front of the net. While he does not make a lot of fancy plays, he does make a lot of smart ones. At 6-foot 2-inches tall, and 203 pounds, Morrison is the rare prospect who already has a good amount of muscle on his frame. Of course he could add a little bit more, but he is well ahead of most of this draft class.  He takes advantage of this in battles along the boards and in front of the net, as well as in maintaining possession in the cycle game.

…Morrison is also effective in the defensive zone, often being used to match up against other teams lines, as well as playing a role as a key penalty killer. He continues to show his hockey IQ in the defensive zone, reading the play and creating turnovers and transition offense. Morrison is also good in supporting the defence down low, and helping to contain opponents in the cycle game.  Morrison also shows good face-off skills.

Numbers

Highlights