Player: Josh Morrissey
Drafted By: Winnipeg Jets (13th overall)
Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 27 North American skater
Height/Weight: 6'0'', 186 lbs
DOB: March 28, 1995 (18 years old)
Most Recent Affiliation: WHL, Prince Albert Raiders
Josh Morrissey had a strong sophomore season with the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL, and he is poised to make an impact at the NHL level. Morrissey was 12th in the WHL in scoring with 47 points in 70 games, and the rugged defender also had 91 penalty minutes.
Internationally, Morrissey had a strong outing at the IIHF Under-18 World Championship, and he led all defensemen with seven points.
Full Scouting Report
Morrissey is an amazing skater who has a ton of skill. He is one of the best skaters in the draft, he is agile while maneuvering on the ice and he is a skilled passer. He also is solid in his own end, and he has a pretty solid all-around game.
The one thing he lacks is consistent physicality, but he possesses the puck enough where that won’t be an issue at the NHL level. He can lay out an opponent with a great body check from time to time, but sometimes he is outworked and he loses puck battles along the boards.
The 18-year-old blueliner has shown great promise already, but his best days are yet to come, and he has time to polish his game before he makes the jump to the NHL level.
While Morrissey is known for his defensive qualities, prospects aficionados such as Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus have described Morrissey as a defender who has some offensive upside.
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.
While Morrissey has shown an aptitude for offense, ideally, he is a two-way defender with some offensive upside. Morrissey is also a scrappy defender who likes to drop the gloves. He doesn't have the ideal size of an enforcer, but he can hold his own when someone wants to drop the gloves with him.
NHL Player Comparison
Kris Letang of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Morrissey is a strong skater who uses his mobility well, and he is a two-way player with a decent offensive game.
Defensemen take longer to mature, so the best bet for Morrissey to make his NHL debut would be at the start of the 2015-16 season.
Morrissey has a lot going for him, and he should be a very good top-four defender. He is a great skater, he plays well in all zones and he knows how to use his offensive and defensive strengths to his advantage.
He could get better with some more developmental years, and he may eventually develop into a fringe first-pairing defender.