What's buzzing:

Buzzing The Net

NHL draft tracker: Samuel Morin, Rimouski Oceanic

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

View photo

.

Rimouski's 6-foot-6 Samuel Morin helped Canada win the world under-18 title in April (Francis Vachon, The Canadian …

It has been all about steady growth for hulking defenceman Samuel Morin across two seasons with the Rimouski Océanic.

The 6-foot-6¼, 202-pound rearguard stands out for obvious reasons, but steadily improved his agility and footwork in order to better contain and constrict opposing forwards during his sophomore season. While still a work in a progress, as is usually the case with an exceptionally tall teenager, Morin moved up from 76th in NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking to 23rd in its final evaluation. The upcoming draft is hardly bereft of big, punishing D-men such as London Knights' Nikita Zadorov or the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds' Darnell Nurse. Morin could fill that niche for a team picking later.

Morin, along with Océanic mates Philippe Desrosiers and Frédérik Gauthier, capped off his season by helping Canada win the world under-18 championship in April. Buoyed by that accomplishment, the St-Henri, Que., native is hopeful he will further emerge as a leader and all-around defenceman, in the Chris Pronger mould.

"That was a great experience," Morin says." We [Team Canada] had a solid team with a lot of talent and just needed to each play our role. We're going to try to teach that to the younger kids in Rimouski next year. Winning a gold medal, that's the best win I have in my career. It's a hard tournament to win. We don't have the best players in Canada. It's the most talented team who wins a tournament, it's the hard-working team which wins."

Morin had four goals, 16 points and 117 penalty minutes over 46 regular-season games with Rimouski. By his evaluation, he struggled early in the season but righted himself and became one of four Océanic selected for the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January. There were hints of offensive upside, as he earned power-play time in Rimouski, plus he also showed improved mobility when he helped Canada win on the larger international ice surface at the U18s in Sochi, russia.

"I like to use my shot a lot on the power play, I probably have the best shot on our team," he says. "I think in the future, I will be better."

"I definitely got used to the big ice quickly," he adds in reference to playing overseas this spring. "In my league, in Chicoutimi, they have the big ice so I've played on it a lot. You have more time to make a good crisp first pass."

Morin is very much a wait-and-see pick, but his tools are self-explanatory.

1. Which NHL player(s) do you watch since he, or they, have a style which resembles what you aspire to do in the league someday?

"Chris Pronger, when he was playing. Very tough guy, very mean guy. Power-play force, very good shot. A leader and a complete player."

2. Toughest forward to go up against in the Q?

"For sure, it's Nathan MacKinnon. Great skater, quick release, good shot.

"[Jonathan] Drouin was also tough to go up against, especially during the under-18 tryouts [in August 2012]."

3. What teammate has helped you the most with the Océanic?

"Probably [Océanic goalie] Philippe Desrosiers. He gives me a lot of advice and he really challenges us in the practice. Whenever I score on Philippe, it makes him really mad and when he stops me, I get mad."

4. How do you believe your confidence benefited from being part of a league finalist as a 16-year-old (when Rimouski lost the QMJHL final to Saint John in 2012). Or did it help in some other way?

"Not my confidence, but it was more about taking the experience. I like playing in those stress situations. The final against Saint John, there was a lot of extra media, a lot of extra people, it's good to experience that."

5. Favourite rink to go into as a visiting player?

"I'm from Quebec City, so Quebec City [Colisée Pepsi]. I have a lot of family there, maybe I have 40 people out sometimes when I play there."

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

View Comments (2)
  • INTERVIEW-Horse racing-'Lucky escape' for National great Champion

    By Ian Chadband LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - Bob Champion, the former Grand National-winning jockey who has survived cancer and two heart attacks, says he is "incredibly lucky" to be alive having this month emerged largely unscathed from a fatal … More »

    Reuters - 2 minutes 7 seconds ago
  • Golf-FedEx Cup rankings

    March 30 (Infostrada Sports) - FedEx Cup rankings 1. (1) Jimmy Walker (U.S.) 1650 2. (9) Jordan Spieth (U.S.) 1164 3. (2) Bubba Watson (U.S.) 1088 4. (3) Patrick Reed (U.S.) 1076 5. (4) Dustin Johnson (U.S.) 1005 6. (5) Robert Streb (U.S.) 903 7. … More »

    Reuters - 2 minutes 33 seconds ago
  • Jaromir Jagr scores two goals to lead Panthers past Senators 4-2

    Jaromir Jagr scores two goals to lead Panthers past Senators 4-2

    The Ottawa Senators have gone from nearly unbeatable to beaten. Jaromir Jagr had two goals and Dan Ellis made 25 saves on Sunday as the Florida Panthers defeated the Senators 4-2, handling them their third straight loss after a stretch that saw … More »

    The Canadian Press - 5 minutes ago
  • Nadal crashes out in Miami, Murray wins

    Nadal crashes out in Miami, Murray wins

    By Simon Evans MIAMI (Reuters) - A struggling and edgy Rafa Nadal crashed out of the Miami Open in the third round on Sunday, losing 6-4 2-6 6-3 to fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. The 31-year-old Verdasco, who is ranked 34th in the world, has … More »

    Reuters - 5 minutes ago
  • Clippers beat Celtics 119-106 for 7th straight win

    Clippers beat Celtics 119-106 for 7th straight win

    J.J. Redick scored 27 points, Chris Paul had 21 points and 10 assists, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Boston Celtics 119-106 on Sunday for their seventh consecutive win. Blake Griffin had 21 points and nine rebounds for Los Angeles, which … More »

    AP - Sports - 7 minutes ago