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2023 FlamesNation prospect rankings: #5 (tie) Étienne Morin

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Stevenson
7 months ago
If there’s one area the Calgary Flames are lacking in terms of prospect depth, it’s on defence. They’ve got some high upside forwards that are ready to produce in Matt Coronato or Jakob Pelletier, but there isn’t anybody ready to be an impact call-up on the backend. In the most recent draft, however, the Flames used their second-round pick in 2023 on a player that immediately projects as their best at the position, even if he takes a few years to develop.
We’re talking about the smooth skating Étienne Morin. He debuts on our annual prospect ranking in a tie for fifth.
Étienne Morin
Left-handed defenceman
Born March 9, 2005 (Age 18) in Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada
6’ , 183 pounds
Selected in the second round (48th overall) by Calgary in the 2023 NHL Draft
Étienne Morin is an offensive driver from the backend. He’s got a tremendously offensive mind and knows how to get around coverage to find good scoring opportunities. He scored 21 goals in the QMJHL in his draft year – the most in the league by a defenceman. He narrowed out one more goal than Anaheim Ducks second-round pick Tristan Luneau, although Luneau was taken a full year earlier. All of this is to really emphasize – Morin is a specially gifted offensive creator.
As with all offensively minded defenceman at this age, there tends to be questions about his defensive game. He can tend to find himself out of place sometimes, but he has time to grow. The offensive edge he has on his peers at the same age is so significant it’s truly lucky the Flames found him in the exceptionally deep draft year. Another year playing in the same league and things  should start to slow down for him – he should be able to make better reads based on his advancing knowledge of the game and the combination of youth constantly entering the league.
Morin stood out at Flames development camp as someone with tremendous control of his skating. His edge-work was already amongst the best of those in attendance. Morin looked like a seasoned pro rather than a fellow junior player. The last Flames defenceman taken in the second round with a high-end skating ability should be returning to the Flames in a top four role this coming season – I for one would not mind having another player with similar physical skills to Oliver Kylington in the lineup.
Morin certainly needs time to grow as a player. The speed of the NHL and the need for your defenceman to be able to process coverages at the highest level might be out of Morin’s reach right now, but he doesn’t come off as a player who will have to wait too long to make a jump. The Flames will need to have some roster turnover on the backend soon – Morin playing games in a Flaming C three or four years from now does not seem too far-fetched. That may seem like something obvious to say when it comes to drafted prospects, but with Calgary you never know when the club gets around to calling them up for a fair shot.

Expectations for 2023-24

If I’m being honest, I really expect Morin to be the highest scoring defenceman in the QMJHL. He finished top-3 last year, but I feel this year he will far and away run away with top defenceman in the league honours. He should have a legitimate shot at representing Canada at the World Juniors – he may not make the cut this year, but he should push for a spot (and would be a lock for next year’s). Basically, I expect him to break-out in a big way. He has the ability to light up other teams and has the skating ability to continue doing so in the QMJHL. The first year after getting drafted is crucial, if he does indeed take a leap forward the Flames could have a stud defence prospect on their hands.
Big things are on the horizon – lots of optimism when it comes to Étienne Morin.

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