VOORHEES, N.J. – Moments after the Flyers selected Sam Morin with their 11th-overall pick in last month’s NHL draft, the comparisons began.
Morin, a 6-foot-7 defenseman, is reminiscent of Chris Pronger. He’s big, he plays with an edge, and he’s far from afraid to be physical.
He even looks like Pronger – who, it should be noted, was his favorite player growing up.
But Flyers director of player development Ian Laperriere says it’s time to back off those assessments. At least for now.
“The big guy moves really well for a big guy,” Laperriere said. “It’s impressive. He’s got a great shot and his feet are pretty great for a 6-foot-7 guy. But everything I read, people throw [Chris] Pronger in there. People have to relax a little bit. The kid is .
“If he does become Chris Pronger-like in the future, we’ll be very happy. But he’s a long way from that.”
Morin took part in last week’s Flyers development camp at Skate Zone, his first taste of the organization. The five-day camp, led by Laperriere, took 25 skaters and six goalies through a host of on- and off-ice sessions focused on everything from skating to cooking (see story).
For Morin, who turned 18 the day after camp concluded, the experience was even better than he expected.
“It was amazing,” Morin said Thursday, a few hours before his parents came to pick him up and take him back to Lac-Beauport, Quebec. “Just learning with [Laperriere]. There were great coaches. It was very fun to be here.”
There were no scrimmages held during this year’s development camp, a deliberate decision by Laperriere. Because of that, he has yet to see Morin actually compete in game action. He won’t get to see him – or the Flyers’ second-round pick, Robert Hagg – play until August.
That said, Laperriere was pleased with what he did see of Morin during the handful of on-ice sessions held during development camp.
“He does have all the [Pronger-like] qualities,” Laperriere said. “And his biggest quality, he wears it all week with a smile on his face and wants to learn. For me, it’s Christmas. When I see a kid come in like that, and they’re like, ‘We just drafted that kid, take care of him,’ it’s so easy. He wants to learn. He’s like a sponge.”
Pronger was a part of the team the Flyers took to the draft in New Jersey, and he was on stage to shake Morin’s hand and pose for photographs with him after he’d been selected. It was a different defenseman, however, who Morin learned from while he was here last week.
“I think all the guys here are great, but there are some great D-men,” Morin said. “I played with Marc-Andre Bourdon, he was there for the camp (rehabbing from post-concussion syndrome). A French guy, too, so he helped me. He impressed me. Good guy.”
Morin will return in two weeks to train at Skate Zone with Flyers players who are remaining in town for the summer. Though he isn't sure yet, he'll likely get a call to participate in the team's rookie camp in early September. Until then, he knows what he needs to work on most.
"My skating," he said. "I have to improve that. But I think I showed good things here."