WINNIPEG - Winnipeg Jets prospect Josh Morrissey is the quieter type in person, but his play on the ice during the first three days of training camp has been anything but.
"I'm feeling a lot more confident this year," Morrissey said following Sunday's hour-and-a-half long practice at MTS Iceplex.
"To be a great player in a great league, you've got to be able to do everything well. … I feel better and stronger than I ever have."
The 21-year-old finished the 2015-16 American Hockey League campaign - his first in the professional ranks - with three goals and 22 points in 57 games. He also appeared in one NHL contest, debuting in a 4-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Mar. 5. He was paired with veteran Tyler Myers, had one shot and played more than 15 minutes, primarily deployed in offensive situations.
He was re-assigned the following day and played just one more game with the Moose before being shut down with an ankle injury. After missing the final 17 games and having the entire summer to train for the upcoming year, Morrissey feels better and more prepared now than he ever has entering a new season.
Video: CAMP | Josh Morrissey
"The (ankle) feels better now than it did before the injury," Morrissey said "Throughout summer, it was my first real opportunity since I was like 11 or 12 years old where I didn't have any [Team Canada] Program of Excellence or NHL Draft stuff. I was able to be in the gym for four consecutive months. I just tried to build my body the right way and I think it's really paid off."
Morrissey was once again paired with Myers on Day 3 at the Iceplex and is poised to make an impression in the upcoming pre-season games. It's no secret the Jets are looking for someone to step up on left shot D, and the 2013 draftee believes he can be that guy.
"Coming back this year it gives me a lot of confidence," he said. "Playing that one game, I got to play with Tyler, and we've been having some chemistry in camp so far. I'm more familiar with the guys and obviously one game doesn't make a career, but I feel my game has improved a lot since I last played at that level.
With Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers and Toby Enstrom locked in, Morrissey is up against Mark Stuart, Ben Chiarot, Brian Strait, Paul Postma and Julian Melchiori for one of three jobs (RFA Jacob Trouba may or may not be in the picture after requesting a trade). At this, his third NHL training camp, it's definitely some of the toughest competition he's faced, but that doesn't mean he's applying any extra pressure on himself.
"Obviously there are a lot of great defencemen here, but my mindset has been the same regardless of anything that happens. I'm just trying to put myself in the best spot and make it a difficult decision for the coaches."
- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com