As a team, the undermanned Chicago Blackhawks impressed in a win on the road against the desperate Columbus Blue Jackets. Included among the bunch was a slew of great individual performances, and chief among all of these was Jeremy Morin‘s.
Morin hasn’t ever managed to stick at the NHL level for very long, but that’s more attributable to Chicago’s organizational depth than anything else. His shot is indisputably NHL-caliber, and his offensive instincts in general are befitting of a player at the highest level. Defensively, Morin is positionally sound and rarely cheats out of his own zone early in favor of offense, unlike a Patrick Kane or (occasionally) Patrick Sharp.
Morin was incredible against Columbus on Friday night, filling up the scoresheet with a goal, three shots, three hits and even winning a few face-offs. The goal itself put that aforementioned great shot on display, with Sergei Bobrovsky whiffing entirely.
Unlike most offensive-oriented players, Morin has an edge to his game; the three hits he laid out against the Blue Jackets were no flukes. The Blackhawks could certainly use a player like him going forward, as they remain one of the least physical teams in the league. Morin addresses that weakness, and he does so without taking away from Chicago’s puck-possession focus; this is different from, for example, a Brandon Bollig type, who will add physicality, but subtract a bit from team possession time.
On that topic, the fact that the Blackhawks have Morin in the organization is a major reason why the three-year, $3.75 million extension Chicago handed to Bollig was probably not a very good idea. Morin is the better player, and comes cheaper than the $1.25 million yearly price tag now attached to Bollig. For a team that projects to face significant salary cap difficulties in the very near future, this extra space could have been quite useful.
Make no mistake, Bollig is a solid player in his own right. His vast improvement this season is a topic I have discussed before. Bollig deserved the deal; it simply shouldn’t have come from Chicago.
At any rate, having too many quality players is a good problem to have, and the Blackhawks certainly have another one on their hands in Morin.