Previous Rank: 6
Josh Morrissey's 2013-14 season saw the Jets' first round pick make about as much progress as anyone could have hoped. Josh flat out dominated the WHL, he represented Canada in the World Junior Championships and helped power the St. John's IceCaps through a deep playoff run.
Morrissey finished his WHL season ranked second in defensive scoring, but he was first in points per game. He was also stout defensively. Morrissey and teammate Leon Draisaitl were one of the most dynamic tandems in the CHL.
Following an early exit from the WHL playoffs, Josh was called up to the AHL and he didn't miss a beat. Within a handful of games he was logging a regular shift and quarterbacking the IceCaps' powerplay. His game was poised and he quickly earned the trust of his coaches.
Fast forward to the offseason and Josh has reportedly added 10+ pounds of mass. He has stated in multiple interviews that he now weighs upwards of 192 pounds which is a big step up from where he was on draft day. Combine that new mass with his already strong base and Morrissey could be a formidable foe, even at the pro level. Josh Morrissey may be closer to NHL ready than many anticipated he would be a year ago.
AIH Authors' Thoughts:
Josh Morrissey is a beautiful skater. He moves around the ice so effortlessly that he can make pro players look like pylons. Combine that kind of movement with elite hockey sense and it is easy to understand why Josh often looks two steps ahead of everyone else on the ice. The only pressing question for Josh is whether or not he can do this at the NHL level. If he can, Jets fans are in for a treat. This kid is fun to watch.
Morrissey has ascended the ranks of top prospects since being drafted, and it's a good thing as the left-hand side of the Jets' blueline is a mess as currently constructed. While it's doubtful that Josh cracks the lineup this season with so many one-way deals on the books already, it certainly gives plenty of hope for the future. I'm very interested to see how he reacts to a full season of professional hockey.
On draft day I thought Josh was best defenseman available at the Jets' pick, glad to see I'm right sometimes (well... to be honest, I had him tied with Ryan Pulock). As Pronman said, Morrissey has a very non-zero chance of making the Jets this season. IMO, Jets should be very excited.
Josh Morrissey is the Jets' best defense prospect outside of the NHL. He is a very strong offensive and puck-moving defenseman with excellent skating ability. While strength may continue to be a small issue, Morrissey has been hitting the gym this summer and now weighs over 190 lbs. After scoring 73 points in the WHL last season and tacking on another 10 points in 28 AHL games (including 20 in the playoffs) to high praise from IceCaps coach Keith McCambridge, there are only two questions remaining about Morrissey: how soon until he's in the NHL full time, and how good can he be? The second question will take years to answer, but the answer to the first may be "this season", as I suspect the Jets may test the waters in the team's first nine games and take it from there.
I'm a bit higher on Josh than most. His even strength and production is elite. It's entirely possible he ends up being a top 5 offensive d-man in the NHL, comparable numbers to Buff. There's a good chance he sticks this season due to lack of talent on the left side, and that could open up a trade involving Clitsome.
2013 Top 25 Under 25 - Josh Morrissey