The Jets have the perfect situation developing for them with the emergence of Josh Morrissey. The young defender played his first full season of NHL action in 2016-17 and was able to give the Jets’ blue line an aspect of stability while all around the defense was up and down.
Morrissey was not an offensive stalwart on the ice, but what Garret notes in his recent Pilot Logbook post on Morrissey is that the young defender had a positive shot differential. While Corsi percentage is not the only statistic that we should measure, it gives us some indication of the kind of play Morrissey will be able to provide for the Jets.
The situation Morrissey finds himself in is one where he does not have to be the center of attention because there is enough attention and more focus from fans and media alike on fellow defensemen Dustin Byfuglien and Jacob Trouba.
Why does this help with Morrissey’s development?
People seem to have a love hate relationship with Dustin Byfuglien. He is not the “old school” stay at home defender that some fans and media would expect defenceman to be. What Byfuglien does is provide first class offence and he does it in unorthodox ways at times. He can also be known for providing interesting and eyebrow raising quotes or fitting goal celebrations. Just look up dab goal celebration for Byfuglien.
Jacob Trouba has drama around him because of his contract situation. He started off the season on the sideline because of his contract dispute with Jets’ management and through his agent even requested a trade to another NHL club. Until Trouba signs long term, there will always be the question of, “Does Jacob Trouba want to be a Jet?”
On top of all this, until the bottom pairing is properly addressed – maybe Myers will be back at 100 percent – there will always be some sort of focus on that aspect of the Jets’ blue line.
Meanwhile, if Morrissey improves on the stable play he provided for the Jets during the 2016-17 season, he will fly under the radar and quietly be able to work on his game. Obviously, good development of all of the Jets’ prospects is what the team needs, but having Morrissey become a solid number 2 defenceman on the back end is exactly what the Jets need.
Especially since Morrissey has said he patterns his game after Ryan Suter and Erik Karlsson. If Morrissey continues on the development track that he is currently on, he will become essential to the Jets just as Suter and Karlsson are essential pieces to their team.
So, while the attention is on what Trouba’s contract status is, what Byfuglien did in his last game or the fact Stuart got re-signed and is still getting ice time, Morrissey will be quietly working to improve as a defenceman.
The Jets have a really good first pairing in Morrissey and Trouba, that will continue to develop into an elite pair. Trouba is 23 and Morrissey is 22; there is a lot of room to grow for both defenders. Unfortunately, Byfuglien and Enstrom are both on the wrong side of 30 and will start to see a decline in their play. Therefore, the Jets will need Morrissey and Trouba to step up even more as they wait for some of their other defensive prospects to develop.
Even though there is pressure to improve, Josh Morrissey is in the perfect environment to become a better defenceman.