December 4, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
NEWARK, NJ – He shook hands, slapped backs and then slipped into his new Winnipeg Jets jersey and baseball hat. And, to be honest, the moment was better than Joshua Morrissey could have ever dreamed.
"It was wild," said the Morrissey after being plucked 13th overall in Sunday’s NHL Draft. "I’ve imagined it a million times, maybe more. It was better than I could have ever imagined, to be honest. Standing up there… I’m in a rink with tons of people, thousands of people, and it really just felt like I was in my own world and how amazing it was. It’s something I’ll never forget."
The Jets, once again on draft day, raised a few eyebrows taking Morrissey – a smooth-skating 5-11, 182-pound defenceman with the Prince Albert Raiders – as many mock drafts had him going late in the first round. But he was interviewed by 27 NHL teams and four times by the Jets.
"They were just really good guys and we got along really well," said Morrissey. "They had a lot of good things to say and it seemed that as we talked, things just clicked. So, I definitely left there feeling pretty good."
Some factors that obviously impressed the Jets:
"I’m a two-way defenceman with offensive upside," said Morrissey. "I like compete hard and I think my biggest assets are my skating and my hockey sense.
"My offensive side has really come. I’ve been working on my defensive game, but my offensive game has really flourished and really become better and better as time has gone on here. I want to keep getting better in all things, but that’s probably the biggest thing for me so far."
A Calgary native, Morrissey said he is thrilled to be staying relatively close to home and going to a hockey-crazed market.
"It’s unbelievable. You grow up watching Hockey Night in Canada or whatever it is and seeing the passion where I’m from in Canada, it’s something I’ve always wanted. I’ve always wanted to go to a passionate city that has passionate fans and I definitely got my wish."
Morrissey will attend the team’s prospect camp in July as well as the Young Stars tournament in September before heading to main Jets’ camp.
"I’d like to be in (the NHL) as soon as possible," he said. "I’m going to go to camp this year and do everything I can to make them not send me home or give them the toughest decision. Obviously, that’s a pretty hard thing to do. I’ll just go and work really hard this offseason and see where it takes me."
The Jets have three picks in the second round, with their selection coming 43rd overall followed by the 59th and 61st selection. Overall, Winnipeg has 10 selections in the 2013 draft, tied for most with Buffalo, Los Angeles and Nashville.
The Colorado Avalanche, as expected, grabbed Halifax Mooseheads forward Nathan MacKinnon first overall, with Alexsander Barkov, a Finnish centre, going to the Florida Panthers at second. The top five was rounded out by Jonathan Drouin going third to Tampa, Seth Jones fourth to Nashville and Elias Lindholm fifth to Carolina.
Grandview's Ryan Pulock was taken 15th overall by the New York Islanders, prompting him to tweet, "Gonna be hard to fall asleep tonight, better then Christmas Eve as a young boy! #NHLDraft2013"
The Jets took Nic Petan, C, Portland, with their first second round pick.
- with files from The Canadian Press
"He's got a physical presence and everyone knows to be aware of him on the ice," Button said. "The foundation of Josh's game is skating. He has excellent quickness and agility, and has really strong balance. It's very hard for anyone to take advantage of him because he's such a good skater. He also has excellent puck skills, always looking to make a really good play."
– Craig Button
"Josh is a solid, top-end defenseman who plays a lot of minutes every night. He has a well-established skill set on both the offensive and defensive side of the puck and can play in all situations. He's a great competitor with a great work ethic, and is a leader on our hockey club."
– Prince Albert head coach Steve Young
--"He's a dynamic skater and reaches top speed quickly with good offensive hockey sense," Marr said. "He's willing to battle and doesn't get intimidated, but still needs to physically mature in order to handle one-on-one situations. He gives a good two-way effort, logs a lot of ice time and has a lot of responsibilities."
-- Dan Marr, the director of NHL Central Scouting
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Updated on Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 3:49 PM CDT:
Adds Ryan Pulock draft
Updated on Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 4:17 PM CDT:
Includes link to news release
Updated on Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 4:46 PM CDT:
Adds files from Canadian Press
Updated on Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 5:20 PM CDT:
Updates with full writethru, adds quotes from Morrissey, adds fact box
Updated on Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 6:03 PM CDT:
Updates with quotes from Morrissey
Updated on Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 6:09 PM CDT:
Adds that Jets took Nic Petan in second round pick