We’re back with the 13th overall pick from the 2013 NHL draft, Josh Morrissey. Morrissey is a stellar 6 foot defenceman hailing from the WHL where he’s been known to rack up points and penalty minutes while leading from the blue line.
When and Where was he drafted?
Josh Morrissey was taken by the Winnipeg Jets following an impressive 47 point campaign with the Prince Albert Raiders in the 2012-2013 season. Aside from his time spent on the Raiders blue line, Morrissey also laced up for Canada at both the Ivan Hlinka tournament and the 2013 World U18’s where he won gold medals in both tournaments. Heading into the draft he was one of the highest rated defenceman who was expected to go somewhere between the 10-15 range.
What caught the Winnipeg Jets attention was his expertise managing a power-play from the blue line. He’s been the Raiders power-play specialist for the last 3 seasons and when he decides to join the offence there is almost nothing that can stand in his way. He’s a very determined defenceman who isn’t afraid to jump into the rush or to throw a big hit, add to that his puck moving ability and that is why the Winnipeg Jets used the 13th pick on WHL defenceman, Josh Morrissey.
How did his 2013-2014 season go
In terms of NHL success, Josh Morrissey didn’t have much last season. However, in terms of his development, there wasn’t much the young defenceman didn’t get to do last season. He finished up his third, and likely last season, with the Prince Albert Raiders where he tallied 73 points in 59 points as the team’s captain. When his WHL season was complete, Morrissey joined the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League during their run to the Calder Cup Finals, where he recorded 9 points in 20 games as a 19 year-old rookie. In total he played 28 games with the IceCaps, recording 10 points. During his season in the WHL with the Raiders he led all defenceman with 28 goals and finished 2nd with his 73 points from the point.
The thing that really stands out is his hockey IQ. I think he really reads situations well offensively and defensively and has the ability to push the pace. ~ Marcel Comeau
While he wasn’t captaining the Raiders or helping the IceCaps in the AHL, Morrissey found himself on the blue line for team Canada at the U20 World Junior Championship. While Canada failed to medal in the tournament, Morrissey put up 3 points in his 7 games. He also competed as apart of the WHL’s all-stars in the CHL super-series against Russian hockey players but was held pointless in his two games.
While it wasn’t the NHL, Josh Morrissey had a great year for his development playing on numerous different teams, with different teammates and under different coaches. Whether it was the WHL regular season, World Juniors or the AHL playoffs, the Jets had plenty of opportunity to see their 2013 first round pick flourish last season.
Thoughts On Last Season and Future
It remains to be seen whether the 19 year-old defenceman heads back to the WHL for a fourth season or begins next season with the Winnipeg Jets. He’s probably another season away from full-time NHL play, but a 7 game tryout at the beginning of the season probably wouldn’t hurt the impressive defenceman. Josh Morrissey is ranked as the Winnipeg Jets top defenceman and the Jets could certainly use some help on their blue line, which might force their hand with Morrissey.
If there is one thing the defenceman proved last season it was the fact he can play when the pressure is high and all the chips are down. He was solid for the IceCaps in their AHL Calder Cup run and provided an impressive show for the Raiders as captain. He’s currently skating with team Canada in their exhibition play ahead of the 2015 World Juniors and he’s hoping to have a bigger role next season and get Canada back to the gold.
Most impressive about Morrissey is his puck moving ability and intelligence as a hockey player. He goes above and beyond what one would expect from a defenceman at his age and career stage. Aside from the fact he’s only 19 and could probably bulk up a little more, he’s an NHL ready defenceman with high hockey IQ and puck moving competence.
Josh Morrissey might seem like a long shot to crack the Jets roster right now, but don’t be surprised if he plays himself onto their roster by opening night. He’s going to be a top four defenceman when he lands in the NHL and a staple on the blue line wherever he plays.