Morrissey comes to the Jets after leading all Prince Albert Raiders defenseman with 47 points in 70 games. The Calgary, Alberta native was ranked 27th overall in the NHL.com’s final prospect rankings before the draft and as such the pick was a bit of a surprise all the way up No. 13.
Morrissey is a two-way defenseman and can provide offense for a Winnipeg bunch that finished 16th in scoring this past season. Add that six of the Jets 10 defenseman from last season are either restricted or unrestricted free agents including Zach Bogosian, Ron Hainsey, and Paul Postma, the Morrissey pick does make sense if the Jets don’t resign all three of those defenseman. Morrissey isn’t NHL ready, but in a year or two he’ll be able to grow into an impact defenseman in both the defensive and offensive zones as he can learn a lot from Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg’s current top defense pair. From an initial look, Morrissey has pinpoint accuracy from the point and can dish the puck sending forwards on odd-man rushes following a breakout. He also looks to be a powerplay specialist, something the Jets could use after a league worst 13.8% efficiency on the man advantage last season.
In the defensive zone, Morrissey is a hard hitter and engages forwards at the blueline and is solid in the corners. He’s a very physical defenseman, but does need to put on some more weight before he’s NHL ready. Morrissey will likely return to Prince Albert for next season, but could very well make the Jets for the start of the 2014-2015 season.
In his scout profile, it says Morrissey plays most like current Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman, Kris Letang. If Morrissey turns out to be half the player Letang is, the “reach” pick will have been well worth it. Check out Morrissey’s prospect video below for a little more on the newest Winnipeg Jets defenseman.