Jordan Morrison was a seventh round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2004, and his late-round status was mostly due to his small size (5’10, 167 lbs). What the Pens saw in the native of Scarborough, Ontario was high potential offensively after he finished with 45 points in his second season with Peterborough.
“He’s a slick centerman that skates very well and is a player that physically had to mature and get stronger and he’s done that,” Petes coach Dick Todd told Hockey’s Future this week.
In 2004-05, Morrison increased his offensive output and scored 23 goals and 41 assists in 67 games, and 12 points in 14 playoff games, and then he improved his production again in 2005-06, potting 31 goals and adding 37 assists in the regular season and 19 points in 19 OHL playoff games which put him third in Petes playoff scoring.
“He’s probably a late developer in a physical sense but he’s played extremely well for us and comes to play every night,” said Todd.
In his first game at the MasterCard Memorial Cup, Morrison had a goal and an assist in a 3-2 victory over the Quebec Remparts and was named the game’s third star. Following that game, however, he was held off the score sheet for the final three games the Petes played in Moncton.
Hockey’s Future caught up with Morrison shortly before their final round robin game against the Vancouver Giants, which the Petes lost 3-2.
HF: Describe what you bring to the Petes.
JM: I like to use my speed a lot, I like to set up guys. I like to carry the puck on the power play, things like that.
HF: So would you say playmaker is your No. 1 ability?
JM: Yeah, I think that’s my strength. Setting guys up. I like to make other people better around me.
HF: You’re also leading your team right now in shots, is it just that you’re stepping up your all-around offense right now?
JM: Yeah. There’re a lot of good goalies in this tournament and you know you’ve got to pepper them with a lot of shots and wear them down. That’s what I’ve been thinking, any shot is a good shot, get it on the pads, hopefully the guys will go into the net for rebounds.
HF: You had a goal and an assist in your first Memorial Cup game, how were you feeling after that?
JM: It was a nice victory. We didn’t play great as a team but I think we got it together near the end and were able to pull it off.
HF: What’s your weight at right now?
JM: My weight is about 179 lbs.
HF: When you heard about the rule changes for the OHL and NHL were you pleased?
JM: Oh yeah, I definitely knew it was going to help my game being a smaller guy. Gets the sticks out of the way, gives you room to skate. It’s been beneficial definitely for my season.
HF: Is your agent in talks with the Pens right now?
JM: I sure hope so (laughing), I don’t know, I haven’t talked to him in a bit. But yeah, I think he said he was going to talk to them but I think we’ll talk more when the Cup is over so there’s no distraction.
HF: You’re just trying to focus on the present.
JM: Yeah, you know this is a big tournament and they know that and I know that and I’m not too worried about that [contract] right now. What will happen, will happen.
HF: Can you tell me how you’ve improved as a player since being drafted by the Pens?
JM: Well it’s been two years now, I think I’ve matured in my game. You know, just learned to settle things down out there. I don’t know, trying to become a PP man so that’s kind of been my role. I’m not a PK’er, but I try to do what I’m doing out there and just getting stronger basically.
HF: And your overall hockey sense has grown?
JM: Yeah, you come in as a young kid and when you leave you’re a 19 or 20-year-old and so you learn a lot of things over the years just from playing with different players and being in different situations.
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