Cameron Morrison is easily the best player available in the USHL this year from a statistical standpoint (USNTDP players aside). He’s being billed as a power forward and rightfully so – he’s got the size, shot, and aggressive playing style of a power winger.
In his first season in the USHL, the Ontario native blew away his competition, leading in all relevant statistical categories, all while being one of the youngest members of his draft class.
Cameron Morrison projects to go in the mid second round, but you shouldn’t be surprised if his name comes up just a little earlier than that.
- Age: 17 (August 27, 1998)
- Birthplace: East York, Ontario, CAN
- Frame: 6′ 2″, 203 lbs
- Position: LW
- Handedness: Left
- Draft Year Team: Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)
- Accomplishs/Awards: OHL Gold Cup Champion (2013-14); OJHL First Team All-Prospect, OJHL Rookie of the Year (2014-15); USHL Best Plus/Minus (+38), USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game (2015-16)
|pGPS n||pGPS s||pGPS %||pGPS P/PG||pGPS R|
From Elite Prospects:
A big, strong all-around player that thinks the game at a high level and executes plays with purpose and drive. Accelerates well and has no issues getting around the ice with haste; transition game will need some tweaks. Very good vision and puck skills, and has the size to make a difference driving to the net and causing havoc for the opposition’s defence. Defensively sound, using his size to his advantage along the boards and getting his stick in place to deflect passes out of harm’s way. Moving forward, Morrison will have every opportunity to develop into a smart power forward that can play in all situations and make it difficult on the opposition.
Morrison displays excellent touch and a lethal touch around the net. A good skater, however not elite, Morrison displays heavy feet which often lead to questions about his skating. With that being said, Morrison displays a fluid stride and adequate mobility along with impressive straight line speed, he simply lacks the explosiveness some would like to see. In the mold of a modern day power forward, Morrison displays a willingness to engage physical, impressive compete and will battle for loose pucks. With the ability to take over games, Morrison possesses an NHL caliber shot that comes with a quick release, excellent velocity and pin point accuracy. Displaying a nose for the net, Morrison also shows deceptively good vision and playmaking skills, although he is undoubtedly a shoot first forward. With strong puck protection skills, Morrison is strong off the cycle and along the half boards and can near impossible to contain off the rush, combining excellent generated momentum, strong puck protection skills and impressive puck skills.
From USA Today
Big winger Cameron Morrison first caught our attention in early August at Team Canada’s U-18 evaluation camp. We loved the way he moved so fluidly and his shot, but were dismayed that he was seemingly heading back to his Tier II team in Aurora, Ontario. However, Morrison made a late decision to move to Youngstown in the United States Hockey League, and has been lighting up the scoresheet. Three months after he first piqued our interest, Morrison has moved into our top 50.
Cameron Morrison is a physical, shoot-first winger coming off an impressive first year in the USHL, which included a hat-trick in the final game of the season. He was easily the best first-time draft eligible player in the USHL this season from a statistical standpoint (not including National Team Development Program prospects Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows). He led all USHL 2016 eligibles in goals, points, and primary points, and led the entire league in plus-minus (for whatever that’s worth). His 1.95 shots per game (117 shots in 60 games played) leaves a little to be desired, especially for his playing style, and his 29.1 per cent shot conversion rate is a prime candidate for regression. That side, players that take a high percentage of their shots from the low slot, as Morrison does, are bound to have higher than average shooting percentages, and given the praise lofted on his shot, any regression shouldn’t be too severe.
Morrison is noted for his strong defensive play in addition to his offensive talent. He’s positionally sound in his own end and is adept at getting his stick into shooting lanes. He spent a lot of the season on a line with 2015 5th round selection Chase Pearson (Detroit), though the younger Morrison had a more prolific year.
The Ontario native is working himself into the mold of the typical power forward and he possesses the tools to be successful at it. At 6-foot-2 and over 200 pounds, he’s had not trouble having his way with USHL competition. He’s a force down low in the zone, he protects the puck well both coming off the wall and cutting in on rushes, and his shot is at an elite level for his age group.
Speaking of age, Morrison, born in late August, is one of the youngest members of the 2016 draft class, with his birthdate only about six weeks before the cutoff. This is often something that we pay close attention to when evaluating prospects. Consider the difference in development and ability between a 17-year old and an 18-year old player – it’s often an area where they make one of their biggest developmental jumps. Morrison is being pitted in draft rankings against players who are nearly a full year older than him in some cases, and he still stacks up favourably.
In terms of statistical comparables, Morrison came in with a highly favorable pGPS percentage of 57.1, with the caveat that there were only seven matches. The USHL is relatively new compared to the Canadian Hockey Leagues, but it continues to grow each year and produce more and more NHLers. Morrison’s successful comparables include Erik Cole, R.J. Umberger, and Kyle Okposo. He projects as a middle-six power winger at the NHL level but does have some top-six upside.
If there is a weakness to be had at this point, it appears to be his skating. While his top speed is more than passable, his acceleration lacks explosiveness, which is likely a large factor keeping him out of the first round at this point. Luckily, this appears to be area in which NHL prospects are able to make noticeable advancements in at later ages than ever before, with high-level individual power skating coaches developing average skaters into threatening ones in their late teens and early twenties. All that being said, he has evidently already made large strides in this area since the beginning of the year.
While Morrison has gone unlisted in many rankings to this point, he’s a player that could sneak into the backend of the first round if a team is in particular need of powerful wingers. He’ll likely be available in the early second round however, when the majority of Canadian teams are making another trip to the podium. Morrison is committed to the University of Notre Dame in the NCAA for next season.