The Top 25 Under 25 is a collaboration by members of the Mile High Hockey community. Eight writers and 320 readers ranked players under the age of 25 as of September 1, 2018 in the Colorado Avalanche organization. Each participant used their own metric of current ability and production against future projection to rank each player. Now, we’ll count down each of the 25 players ranked.
Two years into his NCAA career at the University of Notre Dame, and Cam Morrison might be turning into the forgotten man in the Colorado Avalanche system. The 19-year old from Aurora, Ontario was drafted in the second round - 40th overall - by the Avalanche in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Since then, he hasn’t exactly developed the way some fans would have hoped from someone drafted so high.
After a very strong freshman season, Morrison took a step back in the eyes of some this past year. With only eight goals and 23 points in 40 games as a sophomore, Morrison wasn’t able to show any growth in his offensive production.
With that said, Avs fans shouldn’t get too discouraged about Morrison’s development, the plan has always been for him to spend at least three - preferably four - seasons in the NCAA. He’s still got time to grow and we should be looking at next season as the pivotal one for Morrison - not last year.
While he was left off the list for half of our writers, a good portion of the readers had Morrison in their top-25, many ranking him in the late teens.
Morrison is a big, strong all-around player who is a smart kid both on and off the ice. He’s a good skater with decent acceleration and top speed, but could stand to work on his east-west agility. He is strong on the puck and uses that strength to take the puck to the net when given the opportunity. Moving forward, Morrison will be expected to develop into a quasi-power forward who can play in a number of situations.
This is what Avalanche Director of Amateur Scouting Alan Hepple had to say about Morrison a year ago:
“We like that he’s a goal-scorer. He’s skilled and he’s got size. Good skater. And the one thing we noticed about him was that you typically don’t see ‘under-age’ players score in those leagues, he scored a lot of goals and did it this year at Youngstown. He’s a pure goal-scorer that has vision and plays a hard and competitive game.”
What people forget is that Morrison is nearly a full year younger that some of the other players in his draft class. Born in August, he hasn’t had the same time to develop as many draft +2 players.
Though his offensive production left something to be desired this season, Morrison grew into a leadership role and by the end of the season, he was playing on the top line for the Irish. This led to him scoring the biggest goal of Notre Dame’s season - the game winner in the Big 10 Championship game.
Another at Cam Morrison’s championship winner! pic.twitter.com/wV8sF4K61L— Notre Dame Hockey (@NDHockey) March 18, 2018
Though some have become discouraged by a lack of tangible growth in his game, there’s no reason so be. Cam Morrison is still a very strong prospect - we just need to be patient. As a 16-year old, Morrison chose Notre Dame for a reason. He’s a smart kid that wants to get an education so graduating after four years and then signing an ELC has always been the most likely course of action.
This is the year for Morrison to take his big step, and he will have every opportunity to do so as a leader and top line player on a very good Irish team. Twelve months from now, don’t be surprised if we look back and laugh at how low we had him on this year’s list.