USHL Feeling the Wrath of 2016 NHL Draft Prospect

The Youngstown Phantoms are reaping the rewards of a surging NHL Draft eligible forward for the second consecutive year.

In 2014-15, it was Kyle Connor who paced the league in points with 80 in his 56 games. Now, in 2015-16, that title belongs to Cameron Morrison. The 17-year-old currently leads the league with 30 points through 27 games.

The East York, Ontario native has yet to achieve the status that Connor was receiving during his draft year, but that time may come in the near future.

Morrison, however, received just a C-rating from NHL Central Scouting in their Nov. 24th edition of Players to Watch for 2016 Draft, which can be found here. A C-rating indicates a 4th/5th/6th round pick.

For such a talented, young forward who is playing with peers who are usually two or three years older than himself, Morrison deserves much more credit than he receives.

Road to the USHL

(Justin Sweet/North Bay Battalion)
Cameron Morrison was drafted by the North Bay Battalion in 2014, but elected to go the NCAA route instead. (Justin Sweet/North Bay Battalion)

Morrison played his midget hockey for the York Simcoe Express. It was there that he would score 17 goals and 43 points in 32 games. He also got the opportunity to play in the OHL Cup, playing for the winning squad. After a terrific season, Morrison was drafted by the North Bay Battalion in the third round of the 2014 OHL Priority Selection.

Morrison would spend the following season playing for the Aurora Tigers in the OJHL. He had another fantastic individual year, scoring 31 goals and 53 points in 49 games. Those stats earned him the OJHL Rookie of the Year honours, as well as a spot on the OJHL First-Team All Prospect team. Such a strong season earn him yet another exciting draft day, when the Youngstown Phantoms selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 USHL Entry Draft.

He would decide to go the USHL route, as a major result of his commitment to the University of Notre Dame on Jan. 13th, 2015. Morrison would plan to spend the 2015-16 season with Youngstown before moving on to the NCAA for Notre Dame.

Playing Out of His League

Kyle Connor
Cameron Morrison is following in the footsteps of former Youngstown Phantom, Kyle Connor, in his NHL Draft eligible year. (Photo: Dan & Margaret Hickling)

Morrison is leading the USHL in production halfway through the 2015-16 season. In a league dominated by players which are usually two or three years his elder, that is an impressive feat. He is eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft by just 18 days, born on Aug. 27th, with the deadline being Sept. 15th for 1998 born players.

Despite being a C-rated skater, Morrison’s rating should see a steady increase throughout the course of the year. In my opinion, he could easily turn out to be a second round selection by the end of the year.

Beyond Morrison leading the USHL in points, he remains sixth overall in points per game with 1.11. His +17 plus/minus rating is also first in the league. His 15 goals rank third, while his five game winning goals is first overall. Among USHL rookies, Morrison currently holds an eight point lead.

Clearly, Morrison has found is own in the USHL, which is a good sign as he will very likely be moving onto the NCAA for 2016-17 with the University of Notre Dame.

Where to Expect Morrison to Land at the 2016 NHL Draft

As mentioned earlier, Morrison is currently expected to be drafted between the fourth to sixth round in the upcoming entry draft. However, as his plays continues to be more consistent over the course of the season, that rating will undoubtedly be bumped up. Barring any unlikely fallout or possibly injury, you should expect Cameron Morrison’s name to be called in the second or third round.