At last, Samuel Morin, the hulking 6-foot-7, 227-pound defenseman, made his season debut for the Flyers on Wednesday night against visiting Toronto.

Appearing in his first NHL game in 488 days, Morin was used sparingly but played well. In 8 minutes, 9 seconds of ice time, Morin had three hits and three blocked shots as the Flyers defeated the Maple Leafs in a shootout, 5-4.

“It was awesome. Obviously it was fun getting back into it,” Morin said.

Morin was able to keep up the pace despite a long layoff.

“I think I’m a good skater, and it was a good test tonight,” he said. “They’re one of the fastest skating teams in the league, so I’m pretty happy about my game and going to build on it.”

Morin said that, because of a grueling rehab from knee surgery, he was more excited for Wednesday’s game than when he made his NHL debut in New Jersey on April 4, 2017.

“I think it’s bigger,” he said after Wednesday’s morning skate in Voorhees. “It’s kind of weird, right? My first NHL game, there was a lot of hype. ... My last year was pretty hard, mentally. I made the club at beginning of the year and then get sent down after a really good camp.”

After being sent to the Phantoms at the start of last season, he played in just 15 AHL games because of a core-muscle injury. He then suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the playoffs.

“It was just a tough year, and it translated into this year because of my knee,” Morin said of the rehab from ACL surgery.

“It’s been a long road back for him, and it’s great he’s able to get in — and all the hard work he’s put into it and to be able to get rewarded and play some games this year,” interim coach Scott Gordon said, adding it would “ease the burden” for Morin in the summer and help him get ready for training camp in September.

Gordon dressed seven defensemen Wednesday to ease Morin into the action.

“I thought he had some good reads," Gordon said after the game, “and it’s not an easy team to play against, either."

Morin, 23, the Flyers’ first-round draft pick in 2013 (11th overall), did play two games with the Phantoms on a rehab stint this season. But after the stint ended, he has been with the Flyers and has been a healthy scratch. They could not send him back to Lehigh Valley because he would have been claimed off waivers.

“My road to recovery is pretty weird,” he said. “There’s going to be a story to tell later — just don’t give up, right?”


The Flyers won for the fourth time this season after falling behind, 2-0. ... Entering Wednesday, Sean Couturier had 42 points (16 goals, 26 assists) in 33 games since Jan. 9, which was eighth in the NHL over that span. ... The Flyers had 80 points in their first 76 games. At a corresponding point last season, they had 89 points. ... Phil Varone, Justin Bailey, and Andrew MacDonald were healthy scratches.