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True-blue American Morin heads to Canada

Tuesday, 06.23.2009 / 9:00 AM / 2009 NHL Entry Draft

By John McGourty - NHL.com Staff Writer

Jeremy Morin, one of the stars of the United States National Team Development Program, is the latest in a long line of good hockey players from his upstate New York family. The Auburn native is the younger brother of Chad Morin, a defenseman at Harvard, and the cousin of J.D. Forrest, a member of Boston College's 2001 NCAA championship team and 2000 sixth-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes who now plays in Finland.

His Canadian-born father, Steve, played four years of American college hockey, as did Morin's uncle.

Jeremy Morin, though, might be the best of them all. He's been on hockey's radar for a long time, at least since he was 15 and led the Syracuse Stars of the Eastern Junior Hockey League -- a league where most players are 18 or 19 -- in scoring. Morin was the only 15-year-old in the league.

Morin spent the past two years with the NTDP program in Ann Arbor, Mich. He had 26 goals and 48 points this season and led the U.S. at the World Under-18 Championship with 6 goals in seven games, and his 10 points helped the team win the gold medal.

Morin was drafted in 2007 by the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, but there was speculation he might attend an American college, possibly North Dakota, Denver or Boston University. Morin chose the option closest to home, however, and one that will give him the most games -- Kitchener.

"I wanted to look at those schools because they offered great opportunities for me," Morin said. "Boston University was at the top of my list. In the end, I thought Kitchener is the best place for me next year. I think I'll fit in well there. That's a great organization with a great coaching staff. I like the city and they really support the organization."

Peter DeBoer was the Kitchener coach when Morin was drafted, but his departure for the Florida Panthers -- long-time assistant Steve Spott replaced DeBoer -- didn't change Morin's opinion.

"Peter DeBoer and Steve Spott are two great coaches," Morin said. "DeBoer was a great coach and that fed out to the rest of the organization. They all learned from him and I'm looking forward to it."

Morin added three inches in height and 30 pounds while at Ann Arbor.

"I'm 6-foot-1 and 191 pounds," Morin said. "I gained a lot of weight in two years in the program. We had a great conditioning program."

Morin said the NTDP prepared him for the next level of hockey, and he said he thinks it was the best place for his mid-teen development.

"Playing for coach Ron Rolston was great and he made me compete and be accountable for things," Morin said. "He made me much better on the defensive side of the game."

Morin's defensive play, however, isn't what attracted the scouts and earned him the No. 33 ranking on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2009 Entry Draft.

"Boston University was at the top of my list. In the end, I thought Kitchener is the best place for me next year. I think I'll fit in well there. That's a great organization with a great coaching staff. I like the city and they really support the organization."
-- Jeremy Morin

"I'm a shoot-first kind of guy," Morin said. "I take pride in my shot and scoring goals. That's definitely part of my game. I'm the scorer on my line."

Morin also is able to realistically look at where his game needs to grow.

"Skating is an area of my game that I need to improve," he said. "I need to even-out my stride as I mature and get stronger. I'm definitely working on it this summer and in the future. I'm more quick than fast."

His experience and on-ice awareness also are strong parts of his game.

"I may not be the fastest guy but I think I see the play before it happens, so that helps me out," he said.

Despite holding dual Canadian and American citizenship thanks to his father -- Steve Morin now is an American citizen -- Morin said he's proud to play for the U.S. national team, which precludes him from playing for the Canadian squad.

"I was born and raised in the United States," said Morin. "I'm an American boy so that never weighed on my mind too much. My dad became an American citizen so I consider myself an American."

Contact John McGourty at jmcgourty@nhl.com.