Paul Holmgren (right) on if Samuel Morin can make the Flyers' roster heading into the season: "It's a stretch just because of the numbers we have here." (USA Today Images/AP)
If the Flyers' backs were pressed against the wall like last season when they desperately needed a defenseman right away, then Samuel Morin would be a sure bet for the NHL roster.
As it is, the Flyers' top draft pick from last summer is still on course to get a long look in training camp before returning to his junior club in Rimouski.
“It’s a stretch just because of the numbers we have here,” Holmgren said Tuesday night when asked if Morin, who signed a three-year, $4.275 entry-level contract today (see story), can make the team. “We’re just going to take it a day at a time and see how it goes.”
Holmgren called the 6-foot-6 Morin “an intriguing young man.”
Morin makes plays on the ice that you’d expect from veterans, not prospects coming out of junior.
Some in the organization project Morin as an impact, franchise defenseman that the club will be able to build around for 15 years. Those same people say they do see some Chris Pronger-like attributes in him, as well.
“I’d hate to put either one of those labels on him,” Holmgren said, laughing. “For a guy that size, he gets around the ice pretty good. His hands are good, his senses are good. Any time he can spend here is a bonus.
“He can learn from guys and learn what it takes to be a pro ... he weighs 211 pounds. I remember Chris Pronger when I had him in Hartford as an 18-year-old, he weighed 180 or 185. Sam is already 211 pounds. And he will continue to get bigger and stronger.”
Holmgren said Morin’s impressive debut performance in Monday’s exhibition against Washington (see story) wasn’t a factor in getting a deal done now.
“We’ve been talking since before camp started,” he said. “It’s important to get it done. It’s a good, little feather for him and for us.