Player: Samuel Morin
Drafted By: Philadelphia Flyers (11th overall)
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 23 North American skater
Height/Weight: 6'6'', 202 lbs
DOB: July 12, 1995 (17 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: QMJHL, Rimouski Oceanic
Drafted by Rimouski Oceanic in the 2011 QMJHL entry draft seventh overall, Samuel Morin has evolved a great deal over the last two seasons. His numbers aren't particularly impressive (he scored eight points in 62 games in his rookie year, 16 points in 46 games in 2013), but Morin was arguably Rimouski's most important defender by the end of the season.
Morin was rewarded for his outstanding work as a shutdown defender by several massive jumps up Central Scouting's rankings—at the midterm he was considered the 76th best North American player. In the final rankings, Morin had climbed all the way to the 23rd spot. That's quite an impressive jump for the large and in charge defender.
Full Scouting Report
His offensive game isn't going to dazzle at first glance, but the term "projectable upside" is thrown around by scouts a lot when describing his abilities with the puck. Morin isn't a fleet-footed skater, but he can carry the puck toward the neutral zone when the need arises.
Morin's outlet passes are also solid. Yet where he really impresses is in his own end, where he uses his size (some have him listed as tall as 6'7'') to wear down opponents and to close down their space and time.
While his skating isn't a detriment in the QMJHL, he flat out doesn't have the mobility to play in the NHL at this point. He's only 17 though, and as he continues to fill out with muscle, his long, hard stride will start to pay dividends. He's a raw defenseman, but he's talented and big—a combination that doesn't come along in every draft.
Also worthy of note: Morin is pretty good at beating people up as well.
NHL Player Comparison
Luke Schenn of the Philadelphia Flyers. The quick and easy out would be to compare Morin to Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins. While he has that sort of ceiling, Schenn is a much safer comparable for the towering defenseman.
Morin needs to improve all facets of his skating and will require more muscle to play his big-man game in the NHL, so fans shouldn't expect to see him until the 2015-16 season. The fact that he'll be 17 when he's drafted impacts the timetable as well.
All large defenders likely aspire to become a Chara-like player at the NHL level. If Morin can continue to develop his raw offensive instincts and doesn't suddenly become easy to play against, that top-end potential is achievable.