Last night's game between Prince Albert and Saskatoon reminded me of this same time last year when I first had a chance to watch Moose Jaw Warriors defenceman Morgan Rielly. Rielly blew me away in that pre-season game and has since gone on to become one of the huge names for the 2012 NHL entry draft.
The same is about to happen for the Raiders' Josh Morrissey.
He's obviously a kid that has been on the prospect radar for quite some time as he was the 6th overall choice in the 2010 WHL bantam draft, and now I can see why.
Saskatoon dressed 8 veteran players compared to the Raiders 4 in the game but Morrissey looked like he could have been included on that list for Prince Albert. He was steady in every aspect of the game.
He's a great skater and has a flawless stride to go along with his 6'0 frame. His offensive skills are obvious as he makes a strong first pass and also has a very strong slap shot. He showed that offensive skill off as he quarterbacked the Raiders first powerplay unit.
The maturity of his defensive game was what stood out most to be in the game though. He made several nice positioning plays, showing that he has a firm grasp of using his body and reach to his advantage. One play specifically stood out as Blades veteran Chris Collins came down the left wing 1 on 1 with Morrissey. Josh played the situation perfectly, staying square to Collins, standing up on him at the top of the circle and then poking the puck away quickly and efficiently. It was a great play and it was made without him breaking a sweat.
Despite the Raiders losing 6-2, Morrissey finished the game with an assist and a +1 rating, the only player on his team to finish with a + rating. He also wore an 'A' on his jersey, clearly showing that the team is high on him in a leadership role.
He's 1995-born so that means he won't be NHL draft eligible until the 2013 draft. That will give me a ton of time to watch him grow and mature as a person and a player. I can't wait to see what the future has for Josh Morrissey.
NHL comparable: Mark Giordano