Bite your tongues Philadelphia Flyers fans. Defenseman Andrew MacDonald has been activated from injured reserve, meaning 22-year old Samuel Morin is on his way back to the minor leagues. Morin played in just two games with the Flyers, both overtime losses to the New York Islanders. MacDonald on the other hand has been out for more than a month with a leg injury, and has had to watch as his team plummeted towards the bottom of the league. Philadelphia have lost seven straight games, and sit dead last in the tough Metropolitan Division.
MacDonald has been the whipping boy for several years in Philadelphia thanks to his large contract and relatively uninspiring play. Signed to a six-year, $30MM contract just a month after being acquired by the Flyers in the 2014 season, MacDonald has never been able to quite find his footing in Philadelphia and even spent a huge chunk of the 2015-16 season in the minor leagues. He has just 43 points in 186 games for the Flyers, and has generally had poor possession numbers in his career. That wouldn’t be so frustrating for fans if it weren’t for the existence of young players like Morin, who are seemingly blocked from making a real impact while MacDonald’s contract and role on the team remains.
Still, Morin hasn’t done quite enough yet to warrant a full-time role. The 11th-overall pick from 2013 has all the measurables to succeed in the NHL—he stands 6’6″ and skates well for his size—but hasn’t quite been able to live up to the shutdown billing he brings from the high draft pedigree. Compared many times to a young Chris Pronger thanks to his size and propensity to engage physically, Morin’s overall game still needs work as he continues to develop in the minor leagues. With other rookies already dotted throughout the Philadelphia lineup, Morin will have to wait his turn to make an impact this season.