Morin's Winding Career Path Brings Him to Syracuse

By Jeremy Houghtaling

One season after being traded twice, Jeremy Morin is looking to settle in.

The forward has called five cities and four organizations his home over the past six seasons in the AHL and the NHL, but now his winding path has taken him closer to where he grew up.

Morin, who is from Auburn, NY, participated in the first practice of the 2016-17 season as a member of the Syracuse Crunch at the Onondaga County War Memorial Tuesday.

"It's definitely been kind of a whirlwind, but I'm looking to make a home in this organization and get off to a good start," Morin said. "I think I'll have a good opportunity here. The coaching staff and the organization has been great."

Although Morin has played more than 260 AHL games, he never came to the War Memorial as a member of a visiting team. He had some youth hockey practices and games in the arena, and recalled watching his cousin, JD Forrest, play against the Crunch as a member of the Albany River Rats in 2007.

"I've never played here as a pro, so I'm excited for the first game," Morin said.

Morin, selected by the Atlanta Thrashers in the second round of the 2009 draft, was dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks organization a year later and began his pro career with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs in 2010.

Morin earned multiple call-ups over five years before being dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2014, but it was just the beginning. He was moved back to the Blackhawks six months later, and was traded to Toronto and then San Jose last season.

Morin signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning as a free agent in July and attended the team's training camp this fall. Benoit Groulx, in his first season as Crunch head coach, has liked what he has seen from Morin.

"He can bring offense and he's a big man," Groulx said of the 6-1, 196-pounder. "I think he's a good addition to the team."

While he has 22 points in 82 NHL games, Morin has registered 97 goals and 103 assists in 267 AHL contests. Last season — in Rockford, Toronto and San Jose — the 25-year-old recorded 16 goals and 26 assists in 59 AHL games.

Morin is focused on providing more than points this season.

"I think for me, personally, I can be a leader," Morin said. "This is my seventh year pro, and I think I can take a leadership role on this team, help produce some offense and continue to grow as a player."

Although his journey has taken him closer to home, Morin knows he still has to produce in order to achieve his goal of getting back to the NHL.

"It's exciting. It's cool to be close to home and around family and friends," Morin said. "But again, it's another season for me and I'm excited for the opportunity with Tampa and Syracuse. I'm just trying to have a good start."

Pictured: Crunch forward Jeremy Morin goes through a drill with assistant coach Jeff Halpern during practice at the Onondaga County War Memorial Tuesday.