NHL Draft

Getting to know Calgary Flames 2023 second-round pick Étienne Morin

With their only pick in the second round at the 2023 NHL Draft, the Calgary Flames selected defenceman Étienne Morin out of the QMJHL at 48th overall. The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler named Morin the best CHL defenceman available before the draft. So what’s the story on Morin and why did the Flames use their second-round pick on him? Let’s take a look.

Who is Étienne Morin?

DefenceLeft6’0″183 pounds

Morin is a left shot defenceman and stands at 6’0″ and 183 pounds. Morin was born in Valleyfield, Quebec, the same hometown as fellow Flames prospect Jeremie Poirier. In fact Morin mentioned during post draft interviews that he played junior hockey with Poirier’s brother back in Quebec. He also plays for the Moncton Wildcats in the QMJHL, Jakob Pelletier’s former junior team.

In typical Pelletier fashion, he reportedly reached out to Morin even before he was picked by the Flames to wish him luck and congratulate him on a great season in Moncton. Needless to say Morin already has plenty of ties to the Flames organization so it makes a ton of sense why the Flames targeted him.

However it’s not just the off-ice connection that make Morin a good pick. He had a stellar D+0 season and immediately becomes one of the organizations best prospects on the backend. Let’s take a further look at his production thus far.

Morin’s on-ice production

Morin has spent his junior career thus far in the QMJHL with the Moncton Wildcats after being selected 21st overall in the 2021 QMJHL draft.

YearDraft RelativeLeagueTeamGPGAPPlayoff GPPlayoff GPlayoff
2021–22D-1QMJHL Moncton Wildcats 64825333000
2022–23D+0WHLMoncton Wildcats672151721221517

In his rookie year in the QMJHL, Morin put up a respectable 33 points in 64 games from the blueline—good for first on his team among defencemen. The total was also third league wide among rookie defencemen.

This most recent season Morin took a huge step offensively, recording 21 goals and 72 points in just 67 games. His 72 points were tied for top spot on the Wildcats with 20-year-old forward Charles Beaudoin. The next highest scoring defenceman on his team had just 18 points, 54 fewer than Morin. Needless to say he carried the Wildcats blueline all season.

League wide he ranked third in the QMJHL for points by a defenceman behind a pair of 2022 NHL draft picks. His 21 goals were the most by any defenceman in the QMJHL. His 72 points were the fifth highest total by a U19 QMJHL defenceman since the turn of the century.

To add onto his remarkable regular season, he then racked up 17 points in just 12 playoff games to lead the Wildcats in scoring in the postseason. The total was also tied for the top spot in the QMJHL playoffs among defenceman despite the Wildcats being knocked out in round two.

Morin’s strengths

Morin is a versatile defenceman with a lot to like about his play. With a deep draft, having him available at 48th isn’t necessarily a steal, but he’ll bring plenty of value and can be one of the better second rounders in the Flames franchise.


There’s a reason Morin scored an impressive 21 goals in his D+0 year to lead all QMJHL defencemen in scoring. He has a lethal shot for a defenceman. His wrist shot and slap shot are both above-average and make him a legit scoring threat from the blueline. He also possesses a deceptively strong snap shot, which is not a common asset for a defenceman.


Morin isn’t an elite skater by any means, but one aspect of his game that is strong and allows him to create offence is his agility. His lateral movement and overall edgework are very impressive and makes him a handful to deal with at times. He utilizes this in all three zones on the ice, but where it really shows in the offensive zone.

Morin is great at walking the blue line and getting shots on net or finding passing lanes for teammates. He’s great at using his edges to open himself up from the blueline to utilize his deceptively strong shot. It also makes him a weapon on the power play and prototypical power play quarterback.

Compete level and work ethic

Morin was an absolute workhorse on the blueline for the Wildcats this recent season. He was by far the best defender the team had and they used him as such. As Todd Button mentioned after the draft, Morin was playing anywhere from 35–40 minutes a game some nights as the Wildcats went to overtime multiple times in the playoffs and Morin was their clear number one.

Here’s what Wildcats head coach Daniel Lacroix had to say about Morin.

“He’s a kid who deserves what he gets because he’s a hard worker, and he’s a great teammate. He works hard in practice, he’s very mature in his approach, and he shows up looking to improve. He doesn’t deflect anything towards others. He takes it on his own shoulders.”

Wildcats head coach Daniel Lacroix on Etienne Morin’s work ethic


Morin’s vision is one of the main reason’s he’s able to generate so much offence despite being just an average overall skater. He’s able to see the ice incredibly well, leading to scoring chances for himself and his teammates. Whether he’s finding open shooting lanes or passing lanes, he’s typically one step ahead of defenders due to his borderline elite vision. Paired with his edgework and shot, Morin is incredibly dangerous in the offensive zone when he has the puck at the blueline.

Morin’s areas of improvement

With all the offence he brings, there are gaps in his complete hockey game at this point. However, they are not and shouldn’t be a major worries.

Defensive game

There’s a reason a 72-point defenceman like Morin slips into the second round, and it’s typically because of the their play at the other end of the ice. By no means is Morin a disaster in own zone, but it’s still an area where he can improve on. He’s much more capable defensively than fellow Flame Poirier was when he was drafted, but there’s still a lot of room to get better.

The biggest area defensively that Morin needs to work on is his entry prevention. He has the ability to throw big hits, but at times he puts himself out of position due to poor timing. He’ll need to work on his overall gap control and closing down opposing forwards at his own blue line if he wants to have success at the next level dealing with NHL size and speed.

He also isn’t the biggest or strongest right now and can sometimes get out muscled in the defensive zone, although some of that will improve naturally as he gets older and stronger.

Below is a deeper look at Morin’s underlying numbers courtesy of Mitchel Brown. Unsurprisingly Morin is quite literally off the charts strong when it comes to generated expected goals and primary points. He also generates shots at a huge rate as well. In terms of clear weaknesses, he has a ton of room for improvement when it comes to preventing entries and all things defence.

Morin’s next steps

Morin will return to the Wildcats for his D+1 season where he will once again be the team’s top defenceman and one of the top defenceman in the QMJHL. He’s already a monster offensively, so it will be key for Morin’s development that he keeps working at improving away from the puck.

Morin is likely still a few years away from the NHL. Like Poirier before him, he’ll need some fine tuning in his game in junior and then at the AHL level before he’s ready to handle the pace and size of the NHL game. That said his defensive game is already ahead of where Poirier’s was when he was drafted, so he may have a quicker path to the NHL.

Projection with the Flames

Morin doesn’t possess top pairing upside, but if he continues to work on his play away from the puck and adds some more strength I could picture him becoming a solid second pairing defenceman and power play quarterback for the Flames one day.

Here’s more information for every player a part of the Calgary Flames’ 2023 NHL Draft class:

Samuel Honzek | Etienne Morin | Aydar Suniev | Jaden Lipinski | Yegor Yegorov | Axel Hurtig

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