Chicago Blackhawks prospect Jeremy Morin couldn't be blamed for feeling frustrated with the way his season has gone so far. However, the talented forward is heating up in February and looking to claim a spot on Chicago's roster.
Morin is currently riding a seven-game point streak down in Rockford, the Blackhawks' AHL affiliate. With six goals and seven helpers this month, Morin is giving Chicago's brass something to chew on during the Olympic break.
Over this past weekend, Morin tallied a pair of goals and four assists to help the IceHogs win two of three games. Rockford picked up five of six possible points as it struggles to gain a foothold in the AHL playoff picture.
Morin went hard to the net to pick up the game's first goal against the Chicago Wolves Friday night. He chipped in with a pair of assists, although the IceHogs allowed Chicago to tie the score in the final seconds and win the contest via the shootout.
In Iowa for a back-to-back Saturday and Sunday, Morin continued to help push the offense. He had two helpers in Rockford's 5-3 win Saturday and opened the scoring in a 3-2 win over the Wild Sunday afternoon.
In just 38 appearances with Rockford this season, Morin's 17 goals lead the club. Three of those goals came in his first professional hat trick Feb. 8 against Iowa in Rockford's BMO Harris Bank Center. Morin is second on the team in scoring with 37 points.
The young American skater has been shuttled up to Chicago on three occasions in 2013-14, scoring a goal to go with four assists in 15 games. The minutes have been hard to come by with the 'Hawks despite some impressive puck-possession stats.
Behind the Net indicates that Morin's On-Ice Corsi (shot attempt differential per 60 minutes) is 24.35, higher than any of the Blackhawks this season.
Although Morin lacks a full season of ice time with Chicago, the numbers suggest that he could help the 'Hawks if used on a regular basis.
Morin is sometimes guilty of trying to do too much with the puck in Rockford. However, he can finish plays and isn't afraid to get a little chippy out on the ice. He certainly would add a scoring element to one of the Blackhawks' lower lines.
Like Brandon Pirri, Morin is caught in a numbers game in the organization. Last season, Ben Smith was in a similar situation and was patient enough to earn a spot in the lineup in 2013-14.
'Hawks coach Joel Quenneville has had Morin on a pretty tight leash in most of his Chicago appearances. Quenneville has been happy with his fourth line's play this season. The third line, on which Morin might thrive, doesn't have much need for him after Chicago picked up Kris Versteeg earlier in the season.
Morin, along with Pirri, will need to keep skating hard in Rockford and stay ready for his next NHL opportunity. That could come once rosters expand later this spring and could also come if Morin is moved to another team before the trade deadline.
For now, Morin will look to stay hot in Rockford and be ready for his next call-up, wherever and whenever that may be.
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