By Chuck LaGrossa, Sports Talk Philly staff writer
You know the popular children's book "Where's Waldo?" Well, Flyers fans are asking where Sam Morin is.
The hulking 6'7", 240-pound defenseman won't dazzle you on the scoreboard, but he can certainly add an intimidation factor that will make players and teams second guess taking runs at guys like Nolan Patrick and Travis Konecny.
Morin came up with Rimouski in the QMJHL and has spent the last two full seasons with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. In that, he's made it known that he will not take it easy on you in the corners. While hockey seems to be moving towards the smaller, speedier type players, it is those big, physical players that can allow speed players to maximize their production.
Just ask the Edmonton Oilers, who drafted guys like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and realized if they wanted to play to the best of their abilities then they couldn't allow teams to just simply take runs and unnecessary shots at them without retribution. Peter Chiarelli, the GM of the Oilers, recognized he needed some bulk to protect those kids and went out and acquired 6'4" Milan Lucic and 6'3" Patrick Maroon and it's proven to be an answer for them.
Maroon physically dominated Patrick in the corners last Saturday in the Flyers 2-1 win over the Oilers. It was not exactly a pretty sight to watch and it should not be a pretty sight to Ron Hextall. After all, Nolan Patrick was drafted to eventually be the face of the Flyers and having him take shots like that including the one Tuesday night by Ducks forward Chris Wagner is not what needs to be seen. Patrick needed to be helped off the ice and missed Thursday's game in Ottawa as a result.
In order for players like Patrick, Konecny and Jordan Weal to excel, they can't afford to be beat up and pushed around. As unfortunate as Andrew MacDonald's injury is, it does open the door for a long-term call-up. Adding Morin to join the Flyers and bring that intimidation factor could really help the Flyers grow and take a decent start to the season to the next level.
When you have the muscle, use it, don't conserve it. Morin is a guy who does not let his teammates take unnecessary hits and stands up for them. That is another element the Flyers need to have. It's time to. The fans want it. Some of the players probably want to see it. And Morin has the potential to give the Flyers a youthful defenseman with an edge, a la Chris Pronger in the early days of his Hall of Fame career.
That is if the Flyers and Ron Hextall decide to use him.