Team: Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
Date of Birth: March 28th, 1995
Place of Birth: Calgary, AB (Canada)
Ht: 6'0 Wt: 187 lbs.
Morrissey was considered a later round prospect coming into the 2012-2013 WHL season, but a strong campaign with the Raiders has brought his draft stock up dramatically as he came into his own, ending the year ranked 27th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. Leading his team defensively and offensively, he also showed promise as a top pairing d-man for Team Canada's U18 squad thanks to his strong skating and great vision. His main weakness has been his physical play - he simply hasn't been as dominant as scouts would like to see for someone with his frame, and he needs to put on some more muscle to get himself up to the demands of an NHL game.
He's excellent offensively, but has been more well-rounded than a simple "offensive" defenseman or PP specialist - all indications are that if he continues to develop well, he could be a player who can be relied on in any situation his coaches care to throw at him.
Morrissey's games revolves around his incredible skating and mobility, which is among the best for any defenceman in the 2013 draft class. He's relied upon heavily in Prince Albert to carry the puck through the neutral zone and gain the offensive line, which he does with relative ease. His excellent vision and superb creativity also makes him an effect quarterback on the powerplay where he has shown a knack for one-touch passes and cross-seam plays which often set up his teammates for open one-time shots. His shot from the point, while not overpowering, is accurate and often creates rebounds. His elite mobility allows him to elude penalty killers and find open shooting lanes consistently.
His strongest tool is his skating, which is easily high end, if not better. He has a very graceful stride, and his footwork is precise in any direction. His top gear, agility, pivots, and gap control stand out in each game he plays. He is also a top-end puck mover, frequently making aware and accurate passes. He can run the point on a top power play unit, jump into the rush, make a good outlet, and flash a highlight reel play with the puck. His defensive awareness is solid, and he has killed penalties at times. Still, he faces a significant issue in his physicality. I would not describe him as soft, as he can make a quality hit at times, but he often is outmuscled for pucks. Coupling this aspect of his game with his undersized frame makes him a risk at the top level.
MyNHLDraft.com (c/o Hockey Prospectus)
Why He'd be A Good Fit in Columbus:
If (and this is a BIG If) Morrissey should slip back down into the mid-second or third round, as originally predicted, he could be a nice asset to fill more of the defensive pipeline. With guys like Ryan Murray, Tim Erixon, and David Savard in front of him (among others), there's no rush to bring him into the NHL. Let him build up his frame, keep developing his offensive instincts, and bring him into the game as a strong utility man who could easily mature into a second pairing player.
Morrissey In Action:
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Video courtesy of YouTube user "Backrowcornerseat"