Flames draft decide Morin on summer season skates with Huberdeau: ‘Superior’

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Etienne Morin was already daydreaming of finally saucering passes to star ahead Jonathan Huberdeau.

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He wasn’t anticipating the chance to come back so quickly.

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Only a few weeks after Morin was chosen by the Calgary Flames within the second spherical of the 2023 NHL Draft, Huberdeau reached out to ask the 18-year-old defenceman from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Que., if he’d have the ability to spare for his summer-league squad.

A no brainer, proper? Besides …

“I had a automobile drawback at the moment, so I wasn’t positive if I used to be capable of drive there,” Morin mentioned. “My head gasket blew off, so my transmission wasn’t working properly. I used to be panicking slightly bit, however I used to be capable of get it fastened and I texted him in all probability an hour or two later.

“I imply, it’s not likely a proposal you possibly can refuse, particularly coming from among the finest gamers on the earth. It was an honour for me.”

Along with his transmission tuned up, Morin made the 75-minute drive to Rosemere, a suburb of Montreal.

And, apparently, made an impression.

The Flames’ defence prospect — at present a standout for the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats — was invited again many times. The proficient teen turned an everyday with Workforce Huberdeau, which is nicknamed ‘C of Pink’ and likewise consists of Jonathan’s older brother Sebastien.

“It’s loopy to assume that I used to be watching (Huberdeau) simply a few years in the past and now I’m really enjoying with him and he is aware of my identify,” Morin beamed. “Simply to consider that is loopy. However on the finish of the day, I’m now drafted within the NHL and I wish to show to everybody that I’ve my place right here.”

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These summertime spins with Huby would possibly show to be a useful warm-up as Morin attends his first coaching camp with the Flames.

The auditions at the moment are underway on the Younger Stars Basic in Penticton, B.C., though it was troublesome for any of Calgary’s up-and-comers — and the rearguards, particularly — to shine in Friday’s 7-1 thumping from the Vancouver Canucks. Talking to reporters forward of Saturday’s late date in opposition to the Edmonton Oilers at South Okanagan Occasions Centre, Morin admitted that the tempo required some adjustment but additionally added: “As the sport was occurring, I really feel like I used to be getting higher and identical factor for all the fellows.”

“I simply wish to present the crew what I can do,” Morin instructed Postmedia earlier than departing for Penticton. “My objective out right here is to point out them I’m dependable defensively but additionally offensively. I wish to present that I’m a crew man and a hard-working man.”

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The Flames’ scouting workers have had some success in drafting offensive-minded defencemen — Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington, each plucked within the second spherical in 2015, at the moment are established NHLers and third-round decide Jeremie Poirier (2020) was named to the AHL’s All-Rookie Workforce this previous season — and the hope is Morin will show to be one other savvy choice. Be affected person, please. It may very well be two extra years earlier than this rising left-hander is even able to go professional.

Morin scored 21 targets final winter on behalf of the Wildcats, lighting extra lamps than some other QMJHL blue-liner. He averaged 1.07 factors per sport in 2022-23, which is extra pop than both Andersson (0.94) or Poirier (0.83) confirmed of their draft-eligible campaigns within the major-junior ranks.

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Not not like most point-producing point-patrollers, the important thing to Morin’s ascent can be proving that he’s simply as able to retaining the puck out of his personal web. In his case, it’s extra about studying the tips of the commerce because you usually hear compliments about his aggressive streak.

“It is perhaps shocking, however I used to be a defensive defenceman rising up,” mentioned Morin, the second-youngest participant on the Flames’ rookie-camp roster. “I went to a global faculty referred to as CIH (Canadian Worldwide Hockey Academy) and that’s the place my offensive aspect developed. Now, I feel my defensive aspect continues to be there, however I’m extra thought of an offensive defenceman. However I wish to be a two-way defenceman. That’s my objective.”

That’s precisely what the Flames will wish to hear.

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Whereas Morin is quarterbacking the power-play in Penticton, he additionally talked Saturday in regards to the significance of blocking pictures. At 6-foot and 180 lb., he’s nonetheless including muscle to his body but additionally realizes he might want to depend on his skating capacity and stickwork to thwart opposing forwards, particularly as he climbs the ranks. As he put it: “I gained’t beat somebody by my dimension, however I’ll beat them with my mind.”

Morin will, no doubt, acquire some useful expertise on this first fall journey to an NHL camp.

He’ll as soon as once more workhorse for the Wildcats within the winter.

After which, simply in case his future Flames teammate is questioning, he’ll be able to hit the street at any time when Huberdeau calls subsequent summer season.

That 75-minute drive was “positively value it each time.”

“Hopefully, I can return as a result of it was tremendous enjoyable to be round him and his brother and the opposite guys,” Morin mentioned. “It was superior.”

X: WesGilbertson

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