It’s a bit misleading to suggest that Josh Morrissey along with Jacob Trouba makes up the top defensive pairing for the Winnipeg Jets, but they aren’t far off from it and it’s very possible next season they assume full control of that role as Tobias Enstrom departs the Jets and both Morrissey and Trouba continue to enter their prime hockey years.
Today we look at Josh Morrissey’s sophomore season.
#44 – LH Defenseman
6’0″ / 195 lbs / Age: 23
Current Contract Status: Pending RFA
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PLAYER’S SEASON IN REVIEW
Josh Morrissey followed up a very good – if not surprising – rookie campaign in 2016-17 with a just as good 2017-18 season where he had a modest increase in his point production and still provided some terrific defense mostly paired up with Jacob Trouba. It can be argued that the Trouba/Morrissey combo was the Jets’ best this season although based on ice time they were still mostly deployed as a second pairing unit behind Byfuglien and Enstrom (When Enstrom was healthy)
Like his partner Trouba, Morrissey isn’t on the ice to put up big offensive numbers but rather focus more on the defensive side of things and in that respect he excelled in five on five situations, especially in front of his net as you can see in the following visual:
His penalty kill work is almost as impressive. It is a little leaky on the left side but compared to other defenders (which you can do by checking out the fantastic Hockeyviz.com) it is pretty darn good. Again, nothing really allowed in the middle of the ice in front of the Jets net.
Morrissey this past season also seemed to add some snarl to his game, likely a result of him being more comfortable in the league and from being in higher intensity match-ups against the best lines and players from opposing teams. His rookie season saw him play an almost squeaky clean game that even garnered Lady Byng consideration from at least one voter. This season, Morrissey was tired of your shit and wasn’t going to take it any more. (Enjoy the following video clip of Jack Edwards doing what he does best: making huge cry baby mountains out of molehills)
He also did end up suspended for a game in the playoffs, but we’ll get to that in a moment…
Morrissey’s possession numbers did dip a little in his sophomore season but it really isn’t anything to be concerned about. His relative corsi and fendwick numbers were on the negative side of things – more likely an indication of how strong the Jets were as a team overall on defense, but his individual numbers stayed the same. His 50.6% Corsi for rating was third only to Byfuglien and Enstrom and his 4.3 defensive point share rating was .1 behind Byfuglien’s team leading 4.4 rating.
Morrissey may have not put up big offensive numbers, but his strong defense helped the team light up the scoreboard all the same.
Again a bit of nasty from Morrissey as he was suspended for a game as a result of this cross check.
Winnipeg’s Josh Morrissey suspended one game for cross-checking Minnesota’s Eric Staal. https://t.co/BlJsrKNl4J
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) April 18, 2018
Otherwise it was a very strong post-season for Morrissey as he posted a 54.5% CF% which was the best of the Jets defensemen who played 10 or more post-season games. Again, nothing flashy from the young d-man, just reliable, steady defensive play but he did have a rather memorable goal against the Golden Knights.
As a restricted free agent this summer, Josh is going to get a significant raise from his ELC deal of $863 thousand. Our WPGChief predicted that he could be looking at a two year deal worth just a shade under three million per year which feels like a pretty safe bet. Not locking him down long term may panic some Jets fans, but make no mistake, Morrissey is a big part of the Jets future.