Jets 2022-23 Player Report Cards: Josh Morrissey

The Winnipeg Jets had an exceedingly up-and-down 2022-23 season. They had a strong first half, suffered a prolonged slide in the second half, recovered from it just in time to squeak into the playoffs, then were quickly dispatched in the first round by the Vegas Golden Knights.

In this series, we’ll take a look back on the season, player by player, and grade their individual performances with an eye toward their future with the team.

In this edition of the report cards series, we will dive into Josh Morrissey’s unbelievable 2022-23 campaign, as he cemented himself as a cornerstone of the franchise and one of the best defencemen in the NHL.

Morrissey’s Offensive Outburst Comes Out of Nowhere

Unless you are Rick Bowness, you likely did not predict Morrissey to have the outright dominant year that he did. Earlier in the season, Bowness said he told Morrissey, “At the end of the season, and this is what I told him, when there’s a discussion of who the top-10 D are for the Norris Trophy voting, I want to see his name in there.”

His 16 goals, 60 assists, and 76 points were all career highs by a wide margin. He more than doubled his previous career high of points at 37. This performance placed him in second place on the defensive scoring list across the entire NHL and will likely place him within the top 10 of Norris Trophy voting, just as Bowness had hoped.

Josh Morrissey Winnipeg Jets
Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg Jets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The duo of Morrissey and Dylan DeMelo was a solid top-pairing for yet another season running, as they posted marks above 50 percent in expected goals percentage and Corsi percentage to go along with outscoring their opponents 34-31 at five-on-five according to Money Puck.

This dominant season earned him his first-ever All-Star appearance, as he joined teammate Connor Hellebuyck, who was voted in later as the Central Division’s goaltender.

Related: Jets’ Morrissey Is an Early-Season Norris Trophy Favourite

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Morrissey played in every situation for the 2022-23 Jets, and it reflected in his 24:13 average time on ice. His season came to an unfortunate end in the playoffs when he hurt himself on a normal-looking play and immediately got ruled out for the entire series against the Golden Knights. Along with Morrissey, the Jets suffered an insurmountable number of injuries to Cole Peretti, Mark Scheifele, and Nikolaj Ehlers who was only able to return for Game 5.

Earns the Nickname “Josh Norrissey”

Throughout the course of the campaign, fans were quick to nominate Morrissey as “Norrissey”, as he was in the running for the Norris Trophy for the majority of the season. Fans had plenty of questions when they learned that he had not been named a finalist, finishing behind Erik Karlsson, Adam Fox, and Cale Makar in the voting.

There was plenty of hullabaloo among Jets fans when this decision was revealed, as they thought Morrissey’s place on the defensive scoring list had pegged him for a top-three finish at the minimum. We will have to wait and see where he officially finishes on the list, as he could slip out of the top five for names such as Rasmus Dahlin, Quinn Hughes, or Miro Heiskanen.

The Athletic's Player Card, Josh Morrissey
The Athletic’s Player Card of Winnipeg Jets Defenceman Josh Morrissey, created by Shayna Goldman and Dom Luszczyszyn

As we can see from this player card courtesy of The Athletic, Morrissey was one of the most dominant offensive defencemen in the NHL this season as he posted a staggering surplus value of $6.1 million.

If Morrissey continues on this trajectory, his contract is going to age gracefully. He is under contract with the Jets organization until 2027-28, with an average annual value (AAV) of $6.25 million. The 28-year-old defenceman is in the middle of his prime, and he has shown all the ability to keep this momentum rolling into next season.

Morrissey Established Himself as a Locker Room Leader

With Blake Wheeler being stripped of his captaincy before the season began, that left Morrissey, Adam Lowry, and Mark Scheifele to carry the load in the leadership department. Morrissey showed up in a big way, scoring timely goal after timely goal and leading by example throughout the entirety of the season.

Here are a few to highlight – his 4-3 overtime winner against the Carolina Hurricanes, in a game the Jets had blown a 3-0 lead late in the third period. His 5-4 overtime winner against the Dallas Stars, in a game that featured a controversial tying goal against Hellebuyck, which saw his mask fall off in the process. Arguably the most important of them all, his first of a two-goal performance on Jan. 30 against the St. Louis Blues, which inspired this celebration and helped the Jets rally for their first win amid a three-game losing streak.

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These moments of leadership carried the Jets through rough patches and to a 46-win season as they squeaked into the playoffs after missing them last season. He had a large say in the seven-win improvement on the team’s record in the regular season, despite the disappointing end to the season.

For the offensive outburst, first All-Star appearance, to go along with his ascension into becoming one of the best offensive defencemen in the NHL, it would be incomprehensible to argue any other grade than an A+ for Morrissey’s 2022-23 season.

Final Grade: A+

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