Josh Morrissey: The More I See, The More I Like

WHT Profile: Josh Morrissey 

Layered throughout recent conversations about the Winnipeg Jets is a quibble shared by both fans and pundits alike: The Jets lack depth and talent on the left-side of the defense.  Often lost in the outcry is that the Jets actually do have a very talented, young left-handed defenseman, and his name is Josh Morrissey.

The Terrible pun in the title aside, the more Josh Morrissey plays, the better he gets.  The kid has gone from being called a bust by some uninformed mouthbreathers to being heralded as the Jets next great defenseman.

Josh Morrissey’s hockey journey officially began on March 28, 1995, when he was born in Calgary, Alberta.  Morrissey played bantam hockey for the Calgary Royals.  In his first year of bantam, the defender scored 6 times and assisted on 18 others while racking up 58 penalty minutes in 33 games.  The following season, Morrissey finished with 21 goals, 28 assists and 108 penalty minutes in 32 games.  At the conclusion of this season, Morrissey was selected sixth overall by the Prince Albert Raiders in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft, while being named the top bantam defenseman in southern Alberta.

In 2010, Josh Morrissey made his WHL debut, playing in a total of 5 games that year.  He was held scoreless and picked up 4 penalty minutes while finishing with a -3.  The majority of the season he played midget hockey with the Calgary Royals, where he scored 17 goals and 22 assists in 30 games.  Morrissey also won a bronze medal with Alberta at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax. He scored once and assisted on three in six games at the CWG tournament.

Morrissey moved on to the Prince Albert Raiders full-time in 2011-12, skating in 68 games that year.  However, his 10 goals and 28 assists were unable to prevent Prince Albert from finishing with the league’s worst record.  He also finished with a -2 and 60 PIM.   Morrissey represented Canada at both the 2012 U17 World Hockey Challenge and the U18 World Junior Championship tournaments.  Playing for Canada Pacific at the WHC, Morrissey scored a goal and had an assist to go with 10 penalty minutes.  At the U18 WJC, he helped Canada to a bronze medal, finishing with 3 assists in seven games. He was -1 and had 22 penalty minutes.

In his second year with the Raiders, Morrissey led all defenseman on the team in scoring, as the Raiders finished with a winning record for the first time since 2003-04.  Morrissey had 15 goals and 32 assists to go with 91 PIM and a +14 in 70 games.  Unfortunately for Morrissey, his Raiders were swept out of the playoffs in the first round by the Red Deer Rebels.  He once again represented Canada, this time at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championship.  He scored twice and had four assists while finishing with a +7 in four games at the tournament. Morrissey was ranked 11th among North American skaters in the Central Scouting mid-term rankings but slipped to 27th in the final rankings ahead of the 2013 NHL Draft.  At the draft, Morrissey was selected by the Winnipeg Jets with their first pick, 13th overall, which was considered a reach by some.

Here is a look at Winnipeg Hockey Talk’s 2013 NHL Entry Draft prospects evaluation on Josh Morrissey by Mitch Kasprick >>> Josh Morrissey

Morrissey attended Jets training camp in 2013 before signing his entry-level deal on October 3, 2013.  He was returned to Prince Albert for a third full season. Morrissey finished second amongst defencemen in the WHL in scoring.  In 59 games, he scored 28 goals to go with 45 assists and 59 PIM.  He also finished a +6. Morrissey played for Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. In six games at the tournament, he finished with one goal and two assists.  Canada placed fourth after losing to Russia in the bronze medal game.  Morrissey also made his professional debut in 2013-14, getting into 8 regular season games with the St. John’s IceCaps of the AHL, and picking up an assist.  He also skated in 20 playoff games that year.

 

Morrissey was again returned to Prince Albert for a fourth and final junior season.  He put up seven goals and 21 points in 27 games before being sent to the Kelowna Rockets in a blockbuster trade.  Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton touted Morrissey as “arguably the best defenseman in the WHL” at the time.  The trade united Morrissey with fellow rising defenseman Madison Bowey, and the pair dominated the Dub.  Morrissey gathered 6 goals and 17 points in 20 regular season games with Kelowna.  He then helped the Rockets to a WHL Championship by scoring 14 points in 13 playoffs games.  The Rockets ultimately lost the Memorial Cup Final.

By 2015-16, Morrissey had graduated from the junior ranks and was ready for his first full season as a professional hockey player.  He joined the Winnipeg Jets’ AHL affiliate the Manitoba Moose for the start of the regular season.  As a rookie, Morrissey put up 3 goals and 19 assists to go with 47 penalty minutes in 57 games.  However, the Moose struggled and Morrissey finished the year with a -9.  The Jets called Morrissey up late in the year, and he made his NHL debut on March 5, 2016, at home against the Montreal Canadiens.  The Jets won the game 4-2.

Morrissey moved onto the Jets permanently for the 2016-17 NHL season.  The NHL freshman had a solid, albeit quiet rookie year.  Holding down the left side, Morrissey’s play throughout the year consistently improved and Jets’ coaching staff soon began to trust the young defenseman in key game situations.  Morrissey moved up the depth chart and finished the year on arguably the Jets’ top ‘D’ pair, alongside fellow stud Jacob Trouba.  The youngster finished his debut season playing in all 82 games for the Winnipeg Jets.  He scored 6 goals and had 14 assists to go with 38 PIM.  He also finished the year +6.  Morrissey capped off an impressive season winning a silver medal while representing Canada at the 2017 World Championships.

To date in his brief career, Josh Morrissey has proven to be a steady defenseman with elite potential.  A smooth-skating, accurate-passing offensive defenseman with the ability to play a solid and even physical defensive game, Josh Morrissey is beginning to establish himself as one of the league’s premier young defencemen.  If the Winnipeg Jets are going to be the first Canadian NHL team to bring the Stanley Cup back to Canada, Josh Morrissey will be an integral part of their quest.

Perhaps the Winnipeg Jets’ insufficient amount of talented left-handed defencemen is indeed overstated.

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Riley Malinowski (10 Posts)


Comments

  1. Mitch Kasprick says:

    I thought the pun in the title was awesome …. but then again, I’m weird …. well done!

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