Having joined the Texas Stars in 2009, Travis Morin is practically a founding father of Cedar Park, as ninety percent of Cedar Park residents moved there in the last year. I kid, I kid, I’m just salty about how long it takes me to check out at the HEB these days.
Joking aside, he really is one of the founding fathers of the Cedar Park Center, where the Texas Stars made a run for the Calder Cup in their inaugural season, before bringing it home last spring, in just their fifth year. Morin was then presented with the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy, given to the AHL Playoff MVP. It’s a well deserved trophy, as Morin also holds the single season records for Assists and Points (in 13-14), and the Texas Star career records for Goals (tied with Sceviour), Assists, and Points.
To borrow a phrase from Mike Heika, Travis Morin is the Tyler Seguin of the Texas Stars.
Except that he’s not a 22 year old just finding his stride, like the dynamic Seguin, he’s a 30 year old AHL lifer struggling to break into the big leagues.
This preseason, he lost his roster spot to Patrick Eaves (also 30), who found some success playing as Seguin’s right wing before breaking an ankle on Dec 2nd. Morin got the call up, and lines were shuffled to accommodate the new center.
Morin has played in five games (only one loss) with Dallas and put up some crazy possession numbers. He’s running around 10 minutes of 5v5 ice time per night, and has moved from third line to second and back. His most frequent linemates are Hemsky and Roussel – and this is ridiculous – their Corsi For differential with Morin is +20.4% and +22% respectively.
Morin is also being used on the second power play unit, though his numbers are suffering a similar power play malaise as the rest of his teammates.
Despite his beastly possession numbers, though, he might be tonight’s healthy scratch.
Morin hasn’t found the back of the net in any of his 5 games this season, and only has recorded a single assist in his entire time with the Dallas Stars. Certainly, that makes it a difficult case to keep a call up in the cast. In Austin, it seems, Morin is used to his role as a shoot-first player; in Dallas, he has only 10 shots total this season and only one shot in the dismal loss versus Toronto.
He’s not a big guy, either. At 6’2” and 175 (per Wikipedia) I’m pretty sure he has a smaller waist than I do. Travis Moen might be in tonight instead, and he’s a 6’2”, 210 pound fourth liner who has dished out 27 hits over 21 games this season. Garbutt is likely back in the lineup again tonight, despite only playing 6.3 minutes 5v5 against Toronto, but he was skating with his usual compatriots, Roussel & Eakin on the “Pitbull Line,” this morning. It’s entirely possible that Ruff is looking for a more “energetic” (read: “goon-like”) squad to play against the Blues, who are known to be heavy hitters, but it still rings a little hollow.
The Stars need to make a decision, and soon, on what to do with Travis Morin. If he plays 10 games in the NHL, he will need to clear waivers before he can be reassigned to the Texas Stars. While he cleared earlier this year, given his numbers and really, the improved numbers of his linemates, I wouldn’t bet on it this time around. Not to mention, after this year, he goes UFA. His AHL salary is already on the high end, so you have to believe he’s going to be looking for a team that will use his talents in the NHL, and with a current NHL cap hit of only $550k, there will be a team needing a quick and cheap patch for a third or fourth line.
With Moen healthy, and Eaves coming back early in 2015, I don’t see Morin keeping his spot on the Dallas Stars, and if he doesn’t have that, I doubt he will stay with the organization. It deeply saddens me, but frankly, I wouldn’t stay either.
How do you solve a problem like Morin?
How do you catch a center and pin it down?