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2014 NHL DRAFT
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2011 Draft Class: Joseph Morrow

Portland rearguard ranks 12th among North American skaters by Central Scouting

Tuesday, 07.06.2011 / 3:30 PM / 2014 NHL Entry Draft
By Ryan Dittrick  - edmontonoilers.com
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"I'd love to play for the Oilers," Joseph Morrow said.

"Or for any team in the National Hockey League," he added. As you'd expect, Morrow has to keep an open mind about his workplace with as many as 30 teams looking to acquire his exceptional services.  

It could be anywhere, but Morrow (an Edmontonian) is cherishing the thought of donning the colours he grew up cheering for.

Following the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto, his dream took another step forward after meeting with Edmonton's team of managers and scouts for 30 minutes at a hotel room near Mississauga.

"Growing up, I was always an Oilers fan," Morrow remembered. "You have to be in that city. It's a really good hockey town. The meeting went awesome. The Oilers organization is a real positive, friendly organization. They treated me really well when I was in there and we had some good conversation the whole time."

While Morrow is hopeful that Edmonton comes calling later this month, he's doing his best not to get too caught up in the possibility. That's been tough, given the obvious connection to his hometown club.

"You look on the Internet or anywhere that has any mock drafts and you see your name beside the Oilers," he said, smiling. "It's a possibility. I'm absolutely keeping my mind open to that. It would be a dream come true."

Morrow won't be a contender for the No. 1 overall selection, but with Edmonton possessing an additional two picks among the opening 31, chances are the Oilers have an eye on the 6'0", 190-pound blueliner.

With attention being placed on other backend prospects such as Adam Larsson, Dougie Hamilton and even Duncan Siemens, Edmonton may be looking to make a splash later on. Morrow, a smooth-skating defenceman, could potentially land in the Oilers' wheelhouse at No. 19 or present an enticing option to move up via trade.

It's appropriate, then, to consider Edmonton's needs. Prospects Jeff Petry, Alex Plante, Colten Teubert and others stepped up in Oklahoma City last season but have all yet to completely prove themselves at the NHL level.

Martin Marincin and Brandon Davidson had strong WHL seasons, but need more time to develop before they can be slotted into the Oilers' lineup. These prospects are intriguing and certainly bring value to an organization, but greater depth is a valued commodity.

Morrow truly brings the complete package. His mobility, puck-moving talent and physical edge present a balanced attack vital to almost any NHL blueline. The scoring component, in which he collected 49 points (nine goals) in 60 games this season, rounds out an already loaded two-way arsenal.

"I like to have the puck on my stick," Morrow said. "I like to skate up ice and control the game. I may not always hit the net with my shot, and it makes a loud bang on the glass. But that's a good attribute to have."

Developing these skills has been an easy process for the 18-year-old prospect. The WHL's Portland Winterhawks had 10 players selected in 2010, and three more (Sven Baertschi, Ty Rattie and Tyler Wotherspoon) are draft-eligible this year as well. It's been an excellent learning environment for everyone, which also helped to quell the ever-present nerves at the Scouting Combine.

"It was awesome," Morrow said. "I got to room with Rattie and Baertschi came and hung out with us a lot. It's great to have friends around. It made everything more comfortable; less nervousness throughout the testing and maybe a little more competitiveness."

The Portland contingent had little time to prepare for the Scouting Combine, but fully embraced the punishment from the Wingate and VO2 Max tests, among others, in this once-in-a-lifetime setting.

"It went pretty good. I would've liked to have more time to prepare, but I'd rather play hockey as long as I did (lost in WHL FInal to Kootenay) and maybe lack a little bit in the physical testing. Everything was good, pretty consistent testing. The bike rides are self-explanatory; they're pretty hard.

"But other than that, it was actually a lot of fun," Morrow added.

Getting the chance to speak with the various NHL clubs provided a unique opportunity as well.

"It was pretty repetitive," he laughed. "But it was good to get to know almost every team and see the diverse people that work in every organization. It was fun, too. You talk about yourself a lot and you may learn a couple things that you didn't know about yourself."

As Morrow explains, he's done all he can in preparation for June 24 in St. Paul, including the rigorous interview process. Now, he needs to keep working and let the chips fall in Minnesota.

"I'm pretty calm about the whole thing. Whatever happens, happens. I've done everything I can, so I don't have any regrets about last season or throughout all the testing and interviews. I'm just excited to see what happens."

Author: Ryan Dittrick | edmontonoilers.com

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