NHL: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks

Exit Interviews: Jeremy Morin and Joakim Nordstrom

Let’s keep rolling on here, and we’ll go with a couple of the spare parts that might have a bigger role to play next year. Maybe. We’ll start with the apple of my eye:

Note: This is also where I would have stuck Peter Regin, but as I think there’s utterly no chance he’ll be brought back, we’re going to skip him for now.

Jeremy Morin

Regular Season: 24 games, 5 goals, 6 assists, 11 points, +5, 1.29 Behind The Net Rating, 28.26 Corsi per 60 (+23.7 Corsi Relative per 60)

I’ll skip the playoffs as he barely played in two games.

What We Liked: Oh, just about everything. Just to be clear, projected over a full season at just this rate, and without the bigger minutes he would have gotten if he were a regular, this would have come out to 17 goals or so and 32 points. And yes, I think J-Mo is completely capable of regularly scoring 15+ goals in the NHL, and actually a whole lot more. Morin’s offensive instincts are there for all to see, as he’s constantly moving and always seems to be where the puck goes instead of where it’s been. He’s also got a scorer’s touch. His goal against Montreal in the home finale is a prime example, where he toe-drags the puck from the right circle to give himself a slightly different angle and then snaps it off in off the far post before the goalie can adjust. You can’t teach that. And I’d like to see Brandon Bollig fucking try it without breaking his wrist. Morin’s skating, while still not great, has gotten way better than it was in his first go-around with the Hawks. I’d also like to compliment him on his resistance to stabbing Bollig or Quenneville after having to watch most of the playoffs after being one of the Hawks’ most effective forwards the last three weeks of the season.

What We Didn’t Like: The reason Q soured on him is that Morin does have a tendency to get lost when without the puck or when the Hawks don’t have it, occasionally losing his man in from the point or such. Morin is stronger than he was but could stand to be a little sturdier on the puck, especially as he’s been sort of goaded by the organization to play more of a power game. Because of that he does go searching for hits he doesn’t have to when using his superior hands would be the better option.

What Is It, You Would Say, You Do Here: I can’t prove this, but I think Stan Bowman is still a Morin fan. I find it hard to believe he’s going to give up on the one piece he has left from the great 2010 firesale until he absolutely has to, and we’re not there yet. Morin is an RFA and unless someone offer-sheets him, which isn’t going to happen, so I imagine he gets a one or two-year, one-way deal to stay, which means he’ll probably have to stick with the big club. The problem is the numbers aren’t in his favor. We know for sure on the wings that Hossa, Sharp, Saad, Kane, Bickell, Shaw (most likely on the wing) Smith and obviously Bollig are here. That’s all 8. That also doesn’t include whatever move the Hawks might make. Morin is going to have to beat out someone, and he’ll have competition from Nordstrom and possibly McNeill midseason. Now, in a world that made sense he would not have to worry about Bollig, but we don’t live in that world. Is that one of the reasons that the Patrick Sharp rumors won’t go away? Because Stan might think he can plug Morin in and get 20+ goals for much, much cheaper? Curious. Morin is still only 23 if you can believe that, but his time is now. I have this hunch Stan is going to pull some strings to give it to him.

Joakim Nordstrom

Regular Season: 16 games, 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points, -2, -1.38 Behind The Net Rating, 0 Corsi per 60 (-13.3 Corsi Relative per 60)

Playoffs: 7 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, -4, -6.27 Behind the Net Rating, -33.15 Corsi per 60 (-37 Corsi Relative per 60)

What We Liked: After catching Q’s eye in training camp for reasons really only known to Q, Nordstrom went down to Rockford, filled out physically and adjusted to the North American game pretty well. We’re sure what made Q weak in the knees was that where Morin’s instincts are all in the offensive end, Nordy’s are in the defensive. Tireless worker which somewhat makes up for his lack of size, and probably a better skater than Morin. Can also play center, though looked pretty overmatched there. Unafraid of contact, which makes him useful on the forecheck when he does get to the offensive zone.

What We Didn’t Like: Nothing really in his control. Nordstrom wasn’t physically ready for the NHL but was tossed in there anyway. Pushed around even after adjusting later in the season. Doesn’t look like he can handle center long-term, but that can change of course.

What Is It, You Would Say, You Do Here: Potentially one of Q’s favorite toys, so he’s not going anywhere. Will come to camp competing for a spot, but as we noted above it’s kind of a logjam on the wings here without someone getting moved. And I can’t figure out what Nordy maxed out as. Another Kruger? How many of those do you need? Does he have the nose of the net to become like Shaw? I doubt it. I think he projects as nothing more than 4th line filler, though I suppose he could eventually become what Frolik was on a 4th line, without as much of the offensive instincts.

  • TitanTransistor

    Looking at what Pearson meant for the Kings in the playoffs, Q’s outright refusal to play and develop Morin this season stands out as a giant wasted opportunity. Didn’t he and Pearson have relatively similar numbers in the AHL too?

    I certainly didn’t see anything from Versteeg this year that I don’t think Morin could have accomplished. The only difference is, one guy was given free reign to turn the puck over at the blue-line and make dumb-fuck decisions, the other guy was on the bus to Rockford at the slightest mistake.

    • Oldfarthawkfan

      Living out here in LA I find it real amusing that everyone bashes Q for not playing the youngsters. Last year, the King fans were bashing Sutter for not playing his youngsters, like Tiffoli, Pearson, Vey, etc. Now they sign Greene for 4 years, which means Willie Mitchell is gone and their fifth and sixth defenseman are Greene and Reghyr, Old and slow. Sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it? Why Rozival, Why Brookbank, Why no Morin, why didn’t Pirri get a shot? Oh, and they are keeping their fourth line center who makes $5.75 million.

      • Commit88

        Pirri got a shot and he wasn’t good. Then he went to Florida and wasn’t good either.

        Morin got a shot as well, but admittedly not in playoffs.

        @TitanTransistor I guess being an NHL player you get the benefit of the doubt, whereas when you’re coming from the AHL you don’t get that.

      • YoAdrienne

        I find it amusing that people bash Q for not playing youngsters, too. I guess Saad, Shaw, Leddy, Kruger and Raanta are all geezers. I don’t know why it’s so difficult for folks to entertain the idea that maybe Pirri just wasn’t as good as they thought. Or, Morin, either, for that matter. At least Morin appears as if he’ll be getting another chance. What he does with it is up to him.

        • lizmcneill

          What you notice with the kids who “don’t get a chance”…they can’t skate. Pirri, Hayes, Olsen, Morin to some extent, vs Saad, Shaw, Leddy, Kruger, Nordy.

          Of course, this doesn’t explain Bollig.

          • AirTrafficAJ

            Quantum Mechanics would have a hard time explaining Bollig.

  • jordyhawk

    Hard to argue with those evaluations. On Morin, I love how he gets the puck/his ass straight to the point of attack. Also, his skating took a quantum leap forward that was clearly evident during his late-season callup. He can’t be any more ready and is exciting to boot. On Nordy, lets just hope he eats a lot, hits the weights all summer, and goes to face-off school the rest of the time.

    Are there any Dump Versteeg/Bollig petitions circulating? If so, let me know where to sign.

  • SuperHawk27

    “I think he projects as nothing more than 4th line filler, though I
    suppose he could eventually become what Frolik was on a 4th line,
    without as much of the offensive instincts.”

    Frolik had offensive instincts? Since when?

    • The Nutbrown Hare

      Frolik has actually put up okay offensive numbers when wearing sweaters other than the Hawks’. Scored 20+ goals in consecutive seasons with Florida before the Skille trade, I believe. I’m with you in that I always wished he could have done more offensively in Chicago…though he did score a few big post-season goals, most notably in Game 6 against Detroit.

      • Oldfarthawkfan

        And when he broke Schneiders groin on the penalty shot

      • ‘hawks58

        Plus he had 15 goals with Winnipeg this year and was on pace for 13 with Florida the year he was traded. Frolik’s shooting% with the ‘Hawks was half what it has been with both Florida and Winnipeg. Not sure how one explains that, but he has been a solid secondary scorer everywhere he’s been.

  • Brain Sprain

    I actually would like to see Morin – Shaw – Smith On the 3rd line in the preseason and see if it clicks. But lines don’t matter in Q land after the first 5 minutes of a game anyway. So whatever.

    • Oldfarthawkfan

      I think Fels is right, Sharp gets moved and Morin plays with Hossa and Toews, new # 2 center (whoever they get for the Sharp salary savings), Saad, and Kane, Kreuger, Bickell, Shaw, and Smith Bollig, Regin, Nordstrom, etc. as 4th line to start

      • Brain Sprain

        I just can’t see Morin in the top 6 next season. But I am frequently wrong. Plus I don’t see Peter Regin back. I have a weird feeling about moving Sharp. Just my gut says he stays. But it makes sense to move him bc of 2016 cap concerns. But the lines are all a blender except for Toews playing with Hossa. No way Toews gets Selke without playing with Hossa most of the season. But what do I know (except Hossa is amazing).

        • Oldfarthawkfan

          I don’t think Q trusts Morin defensively, but he does have finish. He isn’t going to play him with Shaw and have to shelter them both, and he isn’t playing 4th line as part of the human shield. the only place he does fit is on one of the scoring lines, or you might as well get rid of him because he is not an asset on the bottom 6.

      • ‘hawks58

        Of all the big name players, I would be least upset to see Sharpie go. His offensive game has held steady the past 4 years, but it seems it has done so at the expense of his defensive game. It seemed that in 08-10 he was a solid 2-way player, not the best defensively, but good enough.

        The last couple of years, it seems that his positioning defensively has been a little off and he has been ultra aggressive offensively when the D-men have the puck in their own end. Once the offense starts to really fall off the table (which will happen, and probably soon), he will either have to recommit to the defensive end, or become the next Danny Heatley.

        • Oldfarthawkfan

          I also think his refusal to play center did not endear himself to the brass either

          • lizmcneill

            I thin hockeybuzz made that one up.

          • HawkIPA

            From what I remember, it was Q who refused to use him as a center. Sharp didn’t veto anything.

        • SAUVE!! bigsave

          I don’t think Sharp will be back…wish I knew what injury he had this post-season…was brutal to watch

      • HawkIPA

        I’m not buying the Sharp rumors. What team would we trade him to that Sharp would accept? The rumored Kesler offers are also pretty laughable. Anyone who thinks the Hawks would include Saad or TT in a trade package is insane. I think moving Oduya, and using the cap space to get a 2C that’s a little more under the radar like Vermette (if/when he becomes available) makes a lot more sense. Keeping Sharp, and adding a serviceable 2C that doesn’t break the bank makes this a better team.

        • ‘hawks58

          I don’t think Sharp is being moved, I’m just saying that between him and Seabrook, I’d rather Sharp be traded. He just led the team in scoring and goals, and I don’t think his value will get any higher.

  • HossasPierogi

    This whole Sharp will get moved to make room for a #2 center makes no sense to me. It’s hard for me to believe that, given the choice between #2 center and getting moved, Sharp would say “move me.” I simply refuse to believe that Sharp “refuses to play” #2 center. I think it’s something else. If Sharp gets moved, I think it’s for another reason than not wanting to play center.

    • Bannerman

      What makes you think Sharp to 2C is even an option? He hasn’t played C in 3 years. His getting traded is to stock up money and picks so they can pay Toews, Kane, Saad and Leddy.

  • wowwowweewoo

    This is fucking ridiculous – Dustin Brown for the Messier Leadership Award. Also Cuba Gooding Junior is a train wreck at this awards show – he’s acting like he’s on drugs.

    • YoAdrienne

      Shit. I’m not watching, and it sounds like it’s for the best. I have a feeling that they’re going to give awards to any Kings that are nominated. Which means Kopitar will likely get the Selke. This sucks.

      • YoAdrienne

        Bergeron got the Selke. I’m okay with that, although I would rather it was the Captain.

    • The Nutbrown Hare

      Yeah, I was convinced Cuba Gooding Junior was drunk during the ceremony. So obnoxious.

      On a side note, was it just me or did every NHL player in attendance seem to have a stunning blonde on their side?

  • YoAdrienne

    Yay, Duncs!!!

  • TitanTransistor

    Hahaha, all of Foley and Olczyk’s petitioning for Seabrook as a Norris candidate got him one 5th place vote.

    https://twitter.com/mirtle/status/481591380305670144/photo/1

    • HawkIPA

      Amazing that he got any votes at all, and Hammer got none.

      • chichicagochi

        any vote*