Let’s keep rolling on here, and we’ll go with a couple of the spare parts that might have a bigger role to play next year. Maybe. We’ll start with the apple of my eye:
Note: This is also where I would have stuck Peter Regin, but as I think there’s utterly no chance he’ll be brought back, we’re going to skip him for now.
Regular Season: 24 games, 5 goals, 6 assists, 11 points, +5, 1.29 Behind The Net Rating, 28.26 Corsi per 60 (+23.7 Corsi Relative per 60)
I’ll skip the playoffs as he barely played in two games.
What We Liked: Oh, just about everything. Just to be clear, projected over a full season at just this rate, and without the bigger minutes he would have gotten if he were a regular, this would have come out to 17 goals or so and 32 points. And yes, I think J-Mo is completely capable of regularly scoring 15+ goals in the NHL, and actually a whole lot more. Morin’s offensive instincts are there for all to see, as he’s constantly moving and always seems to be where the puck goes instead of where it’s been. He’s also got a scorer’s touch. His goal against Montreal in the home finale is a prime example, where he toe-drags the puck from the right circle to give himself a slightly different angle and then snaps it off in off the far post before the goalie can adjust. You can’t teach that. And I’d like to see Brandon Bollig fucking try it without breaking his wrist. Morin’s skating, while still not great, has gotten way better than it was in his first go-around with the Hawks. I’d also like to compliment him on his resistance to stabbing Bollig or Quenneville after having to watch most of the playoffs after being one of the Hawks’ most effective forwards the last three weeks of the season.
What We Didn’t Like: The reason Q soured on him is that Morin does have a tendency to get lost when without the puck or when the Hawks don’t have it, occasionally losing his man in from the point or such. Morin is stronger than he was but could stand to be a little sturdier on the puck, especially as he’s been sort of goaded by the organization to play more of a power game. Because of that he does go searching for hits he doesn’t have to when using his superior hands would be the better option.
What Is It, You Would Say, You Do Here: I can’t prove this, but I think Stan Bowman is still a Morin fan. I find it hard to believe he’s going to give up on the one piece he has left from the great 2010 firesale until he absolutely has to, and we’re not there yet. Morin is an RFA and unless someone offer-sheets him, which isn’t going to happen, so I imagine he gets a one or two-year, one-way deal to stay, which means he’ll probably have to stick with the big club. The problem is the numbers aren’t in his favor. We know for sure on the wings that Hossa, Sharp, Saad, Kane, Bickell, Shaw (most likely on the wing) Smith and obviously Bollig are here. That’s all 8. That also doesn’t include whatever move the Hawks might make. Morin is going to have to beat out someone, and he’ll have competition from Nordstrom and possibly McNeill midseason. Now, in a world that made sense he would not have to worry about Bollig, but we don’t live in that world. Is that one of the reasons that the Patrick Sharp rumors won’t go away? Because Stan might think he can plug Morin in and get 20+ goals for much, much cheaper? Curious. Morin is still only 23 if you can believe that, but his time is now. I have this hunch Stan is going to pull some strings to give it to him.
Regular Season: 16 games, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, -2, -1.38 Behind The Net Rating, 0 Corsi per 60 (-13.3 Corsi Relative per 60)
Playoffs: 7 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, -4, -6.27 Behind the Net Rating, -33.15 Corsi per 60 (-37 Corsi Relative per 60)
What We Liked: After catching Q’s eye in training camp for reasons really only known to Q, Nordstrom went down to Rockford, filled out physically and adjusted to the North American game pretty well. We’re sure what made Q weak in the knees was that where Morin’s instincts are all in the offensive end, Nordy’s are in the defensive. Tireless worker which somewhat makes up for his lack of size, and probably a better skater than Morin. Can also play center, though looked pretty overmatched there. Unafraid of contact, which makes him useful on the forecheck when he does get to the offensive zone.
What We Didn’t Like: Nothing really in his control. Nordstrom wasn’t physically ready for the NHL but was tossed in there anyway. Pushed around even after adjusting later in the season. Doesn’t look like he can handle center long-term, but that can change of course.
What Is It, You Would Say, You Do Here: Potentially one of Q’s favorite toys, so he’s not going anywhere. Will come to camp competing for a spot, but as we noted above it’s kind of a logjam on the wings here without someone getting moved. And I can’t figure out what Nordy maxed out as. Another Kruger? How many of those do you need? Does he have the nose of the net to become like Shaw? I doubt it. I think he projects as nothing more than 4th line filler, though I suppose he could eventually become what Frolik was on a 4th line, without as much of the offensive instincts.