Josh Morrissey has a new
lease on his Western Hockey League season after a trade sent him from a team
struggling for a playoff spot, to the best team in the WHL.
The 19-year-old joins the
Kelowna Rockets, who have been the best team in the WHL since the season
started in September. The Rockets kicked off their 2014-15 season with 10
straight wins, and currently sit first in the league, Western Conference and
B.C. Division with a record of 25-4-3 and 53 points at the halfway point of the
Morrissey leaves Prince Albert (15-17-0, 5th Central Division, 9th Eastern Conference);
the team that selected him sixth in the 2010 WHL Bantam Draft and a team that
he had played part of five seasons with. The Jets prospect also served as team
captain since the start of the 2012-13 season. In 229 games with the Raiders,
Morrissey accumulated 179 points (60g, 119a) and was a +6 in that time.
Morrissey who was selected 13th
overall by the Jets in 2013 and his teammate Gage Quinney will move to Kelowna
in exchange for Jesse Lees, Austin Glover, a second round pick in the 2016 WHL
Bantam Draft and a third rounder in 2017.
This trade is indeed a
blessing for the young defenceman for a few reasons. Despite leaving a team
that he played his entire WHL career with, you can expect Morrissey to move on
to bigger and better things with the Rockets.
Reason #1: Team Canada
Waiting in Kelowna for Morrissey’s arrival is a fellow defenceman who hopes to represent his country this upcoming World Junior Championships. Madison Bowey, like Morrissey was invited to Canada’s National Junior Camp on Dec. 1. He was also selected in the 2013 NHL Draft (53rd, Washington) and has been a leader to the Rockets this season. Bowey’s big body, excellent skating and physical play and Morrissey’s crisp passing, smooth skating and ability to transition from defence to offence style of play compliments each other beautifully, should they be paired together in Kelowna. I’m sure Hockey Canada would love to have these two play for Canada this Christmas season and not have to worry about them building chemistry during the tournament.
Reason #2: He finally gets to
play on a competitive team.
During his time with the Raiders, Morrissey would appear in just eight playoff
games being swept in both series with Prince Albert. In his eight games
Morrissey contribute four points (1g, 3a) and was a -4 in two playoffs.
Although he has played on teams that make the postseason, the Raiders were
never considered favourites to win the WHL and head to the Memorial Cup. Now
that Morrissey is heading to the best team in the league, there is going to be
a lot of pressure for the Rockets to keep their play up and return to their
Reason #3: A Brother’s Bond.
Another player waiting for
Josh in Kelowna is his younger brother, Jake Morrissey who is currently the
backup goaltender for the Rockets. Now I know it’s not that big of deal to play
on the same team as your brother, but a lot of teams are doing it nowadays, the
Sedin twins in Vancouver, the Staals in Carolina and the Schenns in
Philadelphia all in the NHL. While the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen have a pair of
twins in the Sanheims. It’s becoming more common for brothers wanting to play
on the same team and this should be good thing for both of the Morrisseys. For
a rookie like Jake it will help him to become accustomed to the style of the
WHL with his brother there to lead him. While for Josh it’s a good thing his
brother is already there so now he has someone that he knows in the Rockets
So what do you think? Is this a good trade for
Morrissey? Is he going to thrive in a new system, or is this trade going to
flop for the powerhouse Rockets? Did Kelowna give up too much to acquire the
Jets prospect or is this a steal of a deal for Kelowna. Let me know what you
think about Morrissey heading to Kelowna.