This is the second in a series of profiles about six Penguins prospects who attended this year’s rookie orientation camp.
Part 1: PROSPECT PROFILE: JEAN-PHILIPPE PAQUET
Jordan Morrison knows he’s not ready for the NHL this season. That doesn’t mean he isn’t excited about playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins one day.
“They have made a lot of great changes in the past year,” he said. “They went from a team that was in the basement to contenders this year. They have a lot of strong young players and I am glad to be a part of that.”
Pittsburgh drafted Morrison in the seventh round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He knows he needs more seasoning with the Ontario Hockey League’s Peterborough Petes.
“Hopefully after this season I will make the jump. We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “Hopefully the Penguins like what I am doing.”
The 19-year-old center helped the Petes claim the OHL’s East Division championship last season. He finished tied for third on the team with 64 points in 67 games. He tallied 23 goals and had 41 assists.
Peterborough advanced to the Eastern Conference championship series, but Ottawa swept the Petes, 4-0. Morrison, a native of Scarborough, Ontario, tied for second on the team in postseason scoring with 12 points. He tied for the team lead with 10 assists and added two goals.
“We had a pretty strong season last year. We have a new coach up there who has really turned things around,” he said. “We’re going to have a pretty good squad this year and hopefully we can make a good run for the (J. Ross Robertson) Cup.”
Morrison’s quickness and strong stickhandling ability make him one of the OHL’s top playmakers. However, he knows he has room to improve. He is going to work on adding some bulk and strength to his slim 5-11, 167-pound frame, which is not ready to handle the rigors of an NHL season.
“I have just been working on getting bigger and stronger. That’s what I have been focusing on mostly this summer,” he said. “I have been getting on the ice and working hard so I can get back in the swing of things.”
Morrison got a personal taste of the hockey hysteria that swept over Pittsburgh this summer. He can’t wait to become a permanent part of it in the city.
“Everyone used to talk about the Steelers down here, from what I have been told, so the Penguins are getting out there,” he said. “It’s good; I hope the buzz continues. I think it’s just great for hockey after the lockout. I hope it continues.”