CHICAGO – New Flyers coach Alain Vigneault wants to get 6-foot-7, 230-pound Samuel Morin into the lineup, and with the team in the midst of playing four games in six nights, it may happen soon.
That said, Vigneault has a dilemma: He doesn’t want Morin to sit too long, but he also likes the way the other six defensemen are playing.
Morin, who missed most of last season as he rehabbed from knee surgery, has been a healthy scratch in all eight games, including Thursday’s in Chicago.
“I look at the overall chances we’ve given up and our D-men have done a pretty good job,” Vigneault said the other day. “I would like to get Sam Morin in the lineup. He’s a young man who hasn’t played a lot of hockey for the last couple years. I’ve liked what I’ve seen in practices. I’ve liked what I saw in exhibition [games].”
Vigneaut said his defensemen have had “some very good moments and some other so-so moments, but none have played themselves out of the lineup.”
Justin Braun, who had a team-worst minus-5 rating entering Thursday, has been the least-effective defenseman in the first three weeks.
“Sam’s going to have to be patient, and when we put him in, we know it’s not going to be the most ideal situation, but he’s going to have to play well,” Vigneault said. He added that it’s a long season and that Morin “will get to play here at some point, and hopefully he’ll play well. It’s not going to be easy because he hasn’t played in a while. That’s just the situation he’s faced with.”
Morin, 24, a first-round selection (11th overall) in the 2013 draft, is healthy and ready.
“Obviously when you’re not playing, it’s not fun,” he said. “Right now, I’m treating every practice like a game. I try to block shots and I try to do all the little stuff that I’d be doing in a game. I’m in a tough spot. If I get into the lineup, soon or later, it’s going to be hard. I haven’t played in a month now. Right now, I’m really proud of myself. I’ve worked pretty hard. I think the guys notice that and I think the coaches notice that.”
Added Morin, who is usually on the ice an hour before his teammates as he works to stay in shape: “I’m in the NHL. It’s my dream here, right? So I just enjoy it and I need to be ready when I get my shot.”
The Flyers played seven of their first eight games against Western Conference teams; they now play the next 13 games against teams from the East. ... Entering Thursday, the Flyers had scored a total of 14 goals (4.7 per game) in their three wins, and a total of seven goals (1.75 per game) in their four losses.