Joe Morrow may be better known as “the other guy the Winnipeg Jets got on Trade Deadline Day 2018” and dismissed as an afterthought by a lot of fans and media a like as the Jets geared up for a playoff run, but his addition proved to be a bit of a shrewd depth signing that helped the Jets get through a number of injuries without too many complications. This installment of the Pilot’s Logbook player review looks back at the brief Jets run of Joe Morrow.
#70 – LEFT DEFENSE
6’0″ / 196 lbs / Age: 25
Current Contract Status: RFA – Arbitration elligible
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PLAYER’S SEASON IN REVIEW
Joe Morrow signed with the Montreal Canadiens this past summer – even with the Jets having expressed interest in signing him – based largely on the fact that Morrow had a familiarity with head coach Claude Julien who was his coach in Boston. Things started off well for the young defenseman who thought he may have finally settled in after bouncing around from a highly regarded Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick to a key piece of trade that sent him to Dallas only to see him shipped off to Boston where he finally got a bit of playing time and actually did well for himself in the 2017 playoffs for the Bruins.
A strong start to the season in Montreal where he posted career numbers in both goals and assists while getting almost a minute more of ice time per night that he had at any other point in his NHL career, quickly gave way to a bit of a slump and a lack of faith by Julien who as Morrow pointed out in a recent interview with “Le Journal de Montréal”.
“I have no regrets for signing a contract with the Canadiens,” he said. But I made a mistake and it was to believe that I was to get all the chances possible with a coach I knew in Claude. I trusted Claude too much, I thought he was too much to help me. I was finally a defender like the others. I played good games, but as soon as I had a bad game, it was over. I went back to the stands.”
With his career again having stalled out, a trade to Winnipeg was very much welcomed by Morrow and while many a fan and media member wondered why the Jets even bothered wasting a fourth round pick on a pending restricted free agent, Morrow played well in the absence of both Dmitri Kulikov and Tobias Enstrom due to injury.
Morrow’s strength is his skating ability and his puck handling and the Jets set out to try and complement those strengths by pairing him with Dustin Byfuglien at times if not on a third line role with Tyler Myers. Morrow does well to defend plays along the outer perimeter but it’s in and around the net where he struggles to defend but it’s also an area he has showed signs of improvement on even compared to his time in Montreal.
The playoffs are such a funny thing sometimes when the most unherlded of players can shine with a bigger spotlight on them and in game one of round one against the Wild, Joe Morrow did exactly that with a game winning goal to help deliver the Jets first ever playoff victory.
It was briefly lived glory as Morrow soon exited out of the lineup as soon as Tobias Enstrom was healthy and able to get back in action, but again Morrow proved he was a strong depth addition for the Jets.
With the Jets holding his RFA rights, it’ll be interesting to see how the team moves forward with Morrow going into next season. He’s likely going to have a contract in the 800 K to 1.5 million range which should tell us just where the Jets value him in terms of future use and what kind of faith they have in him. His n the playoff stretch and first round against Minnesota was good enough that he should warrant a serious look this fall where he’ll likely battle for a spot in the third pairing or as the team’s 7th defenseman.