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His 2nd straight high quality season: Josh Morrissey Jets Nation year in review

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Photo credit:© James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
1 month ago
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Good afternoon Jets Nation! With a lack of any major announcements or news from the Winnipeg Jets so far today, I’ll be continuing the Jets Nation year in reviews! This is an off-season series where I recap for you a player’s 2023-24 season and preview what the next season might look like for them based on a few factors. If you haven’t checked out my first 2, I covered Mason Appleton and Cole Perfetti yesterday. Today, I’m beginning with the Jets #1 defenceman, Josh Morrissey.
The 29-year old defender from Calgary, Alberta had himself another wonderful year with the Winnipeg Jets this season. After Morrissey’s breakout 76 point, nearly Norris nominated season, he was back to prove that last season was no fluke. In 81 games this season, Morrissey scored 10 goals, added 59 assists (which led the Jets), for a total of 69 points, good for 8th among all defence in the league.
Another perhaps less important stat that popped out to me when comparing it to the rest of Morrissey’s career was his +/- for this season. I know +/- is generally a not good stat to use, especially when comparing players, but Morrissey put up an impressive +34 this year, good enough for top 10 in the league.
Before diving a bit deeper into the terrific season that Morrissey had, it’s worth mentioning his performance in the playoffs too. In the 5 round 1 games, Morrissey had 3 goals and added 1 assist for 4 points. He really seemed to be a leader out there on the ice during the playoffs, doing whatever he could to try and help his team win. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough, but you could argue that he was the team’s MVP for the series against the Avalanche, despite the losing effort.
Diving into Morrissey’s possession metrics, according to Hockey Reference, you’ll see a steady improvement in both Corsi and Fenwick throughout his career. These 2 numbers are pretty closely connected, as they deal with situations where the Jets would be controlling the puck when Morrissey is on the ice. Both his Corsi for and Fenwick for sit around 57% for this season, which is generally considered pretty good.
Going a little further into Morrissey’s defence percentile ranks, this is where you can really see the improvements that were made as a defender. According to Natural Stat trick’s table on this article, Morrissey took a leap in takeaways, expected goals against and Corsi against. The numbers back up Morrissey’s play this season. Last season was termed as his breakout season, and this season you could call it his “outlier” season for standing out in a good way compared to the rest of the league.
Stats are one thing, but it’s the leadership and consistency that really put Morrissey out there as a candidate for the Jets team MVP for this season. Because last season was considered a breakthrough season for Morrissey, there wasn’t as much chatter about him during the season, but he deserved it. Most of the focus around the league was on Quinn Hughes, Cale Makar and Roman Josi, the 3 Norris nominees, all 3 of which are deserving candidates. Morrissey wasn’t too far behind them though, and you could definitely make a case for him being a top 10 defenceman in the league again this season.
Taking a look at Morrissey’s last 2 seasons, but in particular this season, I wondered if there was something that Rick Bowness unlocked in Morrissey’s game. Perhaps this newly found offensive, playmaking style was always in Morrissey’s repertoire, but maybe it wasn’t enabled until he had a coach like Bowness. Whether that’s pure speculation or just a matter of his overall game improving is tough to pinpoint, but interesting to think about.
Looking at Morrissey’s current contract, he’s now halfway into his 8 year, 50 million dollar deal that he signed 4 years ago. The Jets will be getting good value out of the 6.25 million dollar cap hit for the next 4 years, before they decide what to do when Morrissey will be 33. I don’t see any scenario in the near future where Morrissey wouldn’t remain a Jet for the rest of his career, but anything can happen.
Overall, Josh Morrissey had himself a 2nd straight high quality season with the Winnipeg Jets. The spotlight wasn’t as bright on Morrissey this season after his breakout year in 2022-23, but he has now started to enter the underrated territory for elite defenceman in the league. Morrissey is a leader on and off the ice for the Jets, backed by a King Clancy Memorial Trophy nomination. An assistant captain and the proven #1 defenceman on the Jets, Morrissey was one of the Jets best players once again this season.
What should you expect from Morrissey next season? Well, I would say much of the same great things that you saw from him this season. He will turn 30 next season, meaning he should be continuing to excel in the peak of his career. Regardless of what the rest of the Jets defence core looks like next season, it’s a safe bet to say that Morrissey will be able to put up at least 60 points next season. A 1st pairing defenceman who will also be on the 1st powerplay and deployed in most of the high-intensity situations, trust on Morrissey to get his job done. A 3rd straight excellent season is on the horizon for the Jets’ main man on defence, Josh Morrissey.

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