For the last two or so offseasons, Jeremy Morin has been in a bit of flux. The prospect can certainly score and fits very nicely into the puck possession offense the Chicago Blackhawks have in place. On the third line with Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell, two now established prospects, Morin has found a significant role and some success.
Despite not yet having scored this season, Morin has generated eight shots on net and gotten an assist as well. The thing that stifles Morin within the Blackhawks organization is not opposing defenders or problems with coaching, but rather the bevy of NHL caliber talent which is in the same situation as Morin — NHL ready, but simply on the cusp of the roster.
This year the player who earned a roster spot straight out of training camp was Ben Smith, and rightfully so. But, as the season goes on game after game, Smith is not showing as much efficiency as he did in the preseason.
Despite having a goal and an assist, Smith has only put the puck on net from the wing position five times in six games and certainly doesn’t show the same flash on ice as Morin does. Smith has been elevated to the third line briefly this season, and the effect was nonexistent.
The Blackhawks are going to have to make a roster move shortly as soon as injured center Michal Handzus returns. Defenseman Michael Kostka is on temporary injured reserve and will remain out 3-5 more weeks, so in the meantime his roster spot can be used to determine whose stock is rising.
Offensively, it seems as if Brad Mills has become untouchable due to his penalty killing ability and chemistry on the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Brandon Bollig. Chemistry is a big issue going forward, as every line seems to be operating with incredible efficiency for the first time all year. When change needs to be made, hopefully it won’t be at the expense of the talented Morin, who has proven he should stay amongst the best in the NHL.
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