2016 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Cameron Morrison could fit the bill

Morrison is a big, physical left wing with definite scoring potential, but may be a stretch in the first round

Cameron Morrison

  • Position: C/LW
  • Current team: Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
  • Date of Birth: August 27, 1998
  • Birthplace: East Yorke, ON, Canada
  • Height: 6'2"
  • Weight:: 203 lbs
  • Shoots: Left/

As of April, 2016, the experts at NHL's Central Scouting have Center/Left Wing Cameron Morrison ranked 46th among North American skaters. This would seem to be rather low for a Florida Panthers team that will draft in the first round at either 26th or 27th in the 2016 entry draft. However, if we are correct in thinking that the Cats are looking for forwards, especially those who can play on the wings, then consider this: Central Scouting's North American Top-30 includes 10 defensemen, and 3 players who play center/right wing. There are 15 forwards who play center, left wing, or either wing in the top 30. With that understanding, it is well worth taking a look at Morrison.

If you are curious as to why we are taking a look at this particular forward, consider this: he is 6'2", 203 lbs., and has committed to play at Notre Dame (NCAA) next season. But he is not just big, Morrison is also described as "rugged" and possessing "potent offensive abilities," as well as an NHL caliber shot. Elite Prospects describes him this way:

A big, strong all-around player that thinks the game at a high level and executes plays with purpose and drive. Accelerates well and has no issues getting around the ice with haste; transition game will need some tweaks. Very good vision and puck skills, and has the size to make a difference driving to the net and causing havoc for the opposition's defence. Defensively sound, using his size to his advantage along the boards and getting his stick in place to deflect passes out of harm's way. Moving forward, Morrison will have every opportunity to develop into a smart power forward that can play in all situations and make it difficult on the opposition

This is the kind of player Dale Tallon loves. The write up about this big forward by the team that drafted his rights in the Ontario Hockey League (North Bay Battalion) tells us even more why Tallon might be interested:

Morrison displays excellent touch and a lethal touch around the net. A good skater, however not elite, Morrison displays heavy feet which often lead to questions about his skating. With that being said, Morrison displays a fluid stride and adequate mobility along with impressive straight line speed, he simply lacks the explosiveness some would like to see. In the mold of a modern day power forward, Morrison displays a willingness to engage physical, impressive compete and will battle for loose pucks. With the ability to take over games, Morrison possesses an NHL caliber shot that comes with a quick release, excellent velocity and pin point accuracy. Displaying a nose for the net, Morrison also shows deceptively good vision and playmaking skills, although he is undoubtedly a shoot first forward. With strong puck protection skills, Morrison is strong off the cycle and along the half boards and can near impossible to contain off the rush, combining excellent generated momentum, strong puck protection skills and impressive puck skills.

In 60 games for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL in 2015-16, he scored 34 goals and added 32 assists (66 points), was +38, and only took 42 minutes in penalties. He also played in the USHL/NHL top prospects game in December, 2015, where he scored a goal. In January, Central Scouting had him ranked at 59th (for North American skaters), meaning his final ranking shows an upward trend at the right time. This sort of trend was noted in November, 2015 by the folks at USA Today, who had spotted him in the summer of 2015:

Big winger Cameron Morrison first caught our attention in early August at Team Canada’s U-18 evaluation camp. We loved the way he moved so fluidly and his shot, but were dismayed that he was seemingly heading back to his Tier II team in Aurora, Ontario. However, Morrison made a late decision to move to Youngstown in the United States Hockey League, and has been lighting up the scoresheet (eight goals, 16 points in 16 games). Three months after he first piqued our interest, Morrison has moved into our top 50.

Does he fit in Florida?

Most mock drafts have Morrison being drafted somewhere in the second round, but with no pick in this round and a need for physical wingers who can score throughout the system, he is a player to watch out for. Morrison has the size and the kind of skill set that Panthers' brass covets, so while it might be a bit of a reach, hearing his name called when they step to the podium is a possibility.