What Scott Morrow brings the Carolina Hurricanes

      One of the team's top prospects has turned pro – and fans should be thrilled about the future.

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      If there’s one thing the Carolina Hurricanes made clear ahead of the March 8 NHL Trade Deadline, it’s that they feel strongly about Scott Morrow.

      Fresh off his junior season with UMass in the NCAA, Morrow signed his NHL entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday, allowing him to play in NHL games as early as this week. Those in college hockey circles knew plenty of NHL teams were interested in his services, given that only Montreal Canadiens prospect Lane Hutson has more points by a defenseman over the past three college hockey seasons.

      Morrow entered the season as Daily Faceoff’s second-ranked prospect in the Hurricanes’ system behind KHL defenseman Alexander Nikishin. In the meantime, some believe Bradly Nadeau has surpassed Morrow, and Jackson Blake has rocketed up the standings more than anyone over the past few months.

      Many believed was Morrow was the team’s most valuable trade bait heading into the deadline last month. However, when the Jake Guentzel trade was announced, and Morrow wasn’t part of it, that caught many off guard.

      Bravo, GM Don Waddell. After all, it’s rare for one of the NHL’s most competitive teams to also have a blossoming prospect pool. Like Miley Cyrus, the Hurricanes are living the best of both worlds right now.

      Morrow’s rise over the past few years has been fascinating to watch. Before getting drafted 40th overall in 2021, the Darien, CT. native was developing with the Shattuck St. Mary’s U-18 prep school team, one of the best high school hockey programs.

      Going from prep hockey immediately to college with just eight junior games under his belt was a big step up, but he took like a fish to water. Morrow had 13 goals and 33 points in 37 games as a freshman with UMass, quickly establishing himself as one of the top offensive-defensive prospects in the sport. That same season, he won the Hockey East title and was named to the first all-star team, among other honors in various categories.

      Morrow’s production fell ever so slightly over his next two seasons—31 and 30 points, respectively—but his game goes well beyond that. This season, Morrow averaged around 25 minutes a night as one of college hockey’s premier minute-munchers, earning him a Hobey Baker Award nomination.

      From a style perspective, there’s a lot to like about Morrow. He’s a skilled defender who skates well for his 6-foot-2, 196-pound frame, using his pure strength to get a good first stride while skating. Morrow had no issue outskating opponents in college, moving fluidly and with purpose in all three zones of the ice.

      Morrow also loves having the puck on his stick. When it comes to getting the puck out of his zone to start to rush, few players stood out as much as Morrow the three years. He’s a strong puckhandler who can pull off some eye-popping moves, although the past few years have been more about cleaning up mistakes.

      That all comes with confidence, something Morrow doesn’t lack. When he was 18, he was prone to trying to do too much because he believed he could get it done on his own. The results proved that, too. However, as time has worn on and he has learned to take on more responsibility in high-pressure situations, Morrow has grown to better handle defensive situations and clean up his mistakes in front of the net.

      Morrow has top-four upside, and it helps that he’s a right-shot, too. Brent Burns and Brett Pesce currently occupy the right side, but Morrow would be a perfect fit for the team’s third pairing beside Dmitry Orlov down the stretch. Pesce, Jalen Chatfield, Tony DeAngelo, and Brady Skjei are all pending UFAs, so Morrow could have a chance to play a significant role with the club as a rookie in 2024-25.

      “There weren’t many pro-level defenders of Morrow’s caliber in the NCAA this year,” one scout said. “His confidence, poise with the puck, how he handled heavy minutes. All of that combined makes him NHL-ready.”

      There’s an argument to be made that if the Hurricanes can secure an AHL affiliation in time for next season, he could learn the ropes there instead for a bit. Morrow is only 21, so there’s no rush to push him too early. But what Morrow showed in recent weeks is that he’s ready for a new challenge, and given his early exit from the NCAA tournament, he’s probably itching for a chance to prove he’s the real deal.

      Hurricanes fans, get excited. It’s happening.


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