Flyers draft tough defenseman Morin in first round

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

NEWARK, N.J. -- When newly minted Flyers defenseman Samuel Morin was asked on Sunday about his favorite players growing up, the native of St. Henri, Quebec,
gave two answers.
One of his choices -- Chris Pronger -- will likely endear the 6-foot-6 blueliner to his new hometown fans. The other -- Sidney Crosby -- probably won't.
The good news for Flyers fans, however, is that the 11th overall pick in the
2013 NHL Entry Draft is well-equipped to emulate Pronger and -- using his extra-large frame -- put a hurting on Crosby when the time comes.
"When I play against him," Morin said. "I'm going to be tough on him, like every player on the ice."
Toughness is Morin's calling card, particularly this past season. A broken collarbone limited Morin to 46 regular-season games, but that didn't stop him from racking up 117 penalty minutes, more than double the 57 he posted in 62 games the previous year. That level of competitiveness should make him a good fit in Philadelphia when the time comes.
"I think it's the perfect match," Morin said. "I'm tough, and they like tough guys."
There's more to Morin than a big body and willingness to use it, though. In addition to doubling his penalty minutes this past season, Morin doubled his point total, scoring four goals and assisting on 12 more before a particularly memorable performance in the playoffs.
"I think I'm more of a defensive defenseman," Morin said, "but last season, I picked up my offensive side. I had an injury, but I came back in the playoffs, and had seven points in six games. I have a very hard shot, and I can fight anyone."
As for when Morin expects to put those skills to use for the Flyers, the sooner, the better.
"I think I'm going to compete at camp," Morin said, "and I'll do everything I can to make the team for sure, and we will see, but I don't mind playing another year in the Q."
He'll have another young defenseman to compete against in camp, as the Flyers used their second-round pick to draft Robert Hagg from Swedish club Modo.
"I was a little bit surprised," said Hagg, who was ranked eighth among European skaters by the NHL's Central Scouting Service. "I only talked to them once at the Combine, so when they called my name, I got a little bit surprised, but I'm really happy to get the Flyers."
Hagg split his season between Modo's junior club -- where he scored 11 goals and notched 13 assists in 28 games -- and the big club in the Swedish Elite League, where he had one assist in 27 games. The native of Uppsala, Sweden, knows he has more work to do before he's ready for the NHL.
"I need to play more before I go to the NHL," Haag said. "I need another couple of years in Sweden before I come over here."
While fans in Philadelphia may have to wait awhile to see Haag -- and possibly Morin -- on the ice, they won't have to wait long to get a look at their top picks in next year's draft. The NHL announced on Sunday that the 2014 Entry Draft will take place at the Wells Fargo Center on June 27 and 28.
NOTES: The Flyers used their third-round pick on left winger Tyrell Goulbourne of the WHL's Kelowna Rockets. Goulbourne, a 5-foot-10 Edmonton native, scored 14 goals and handed out 13 assists this past season...Edmonton Oilers first-rounder Darnell Nurse -- the nephew of former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb -- shared a Philadelphia memory after going to the Oilers with the No. 7 pick. "We're even," Nurse said, "because he went higher than me but I didn't get booed at my draft, so we're even."

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