Joe Morrow Finally Has Opportunity To Impress At NHL Level For Bruins

MorrowBOSTON — Joe Morrow has been a part of three different NHL organizations since he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011, but he’s never appeared in a game at the top level.

That could change over the next four to six weeks, which is the expected timeframe that the Bruins will be without captain and No. 1 defenseman Zdeno Chara because of a PCL tear suffered in Thursday’s loss. Morrow and Zach Trotman were called up from Providence to give the team much-needed blue line depth with Chara and Kevan Miller out of the lineup.

“Well, they’re both strong kids,” B’s general manager Peter Chiarelli said of Morrow and Trotman on Friday. “They’re both good skaters. They both can find seems, can find lanes. Joe’s been a consistent performer down there. Zach Trotman just lately has been picking up his game. So they’re both strong kids that can skate.”

Morrow is the fourth and final player of the Tyler Seguin trade to arrive in Boston, joining Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser. He also was part of the Brenden Morrow trade between the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh Penguins in 2012-13.

The 21-year-old defenseman is a quality offensive player with good puck-moving skills, a heavy shot from the point and the ability to quarterback a power play. Morrow tallied 29 points (six goals, 23 assists) in 56 games for Providence in 2013-14, trailing only David Warsofsky (32 points) for the team lead among defensemen. Morrow has scored one goal with one assist in five games for the P-Bruins this season. He’s played a total of 127 AHL games since the start of the 2012-13 campaign.

Similar to most D-men Morrow’s age, the defensive aspect of his game still is a work in progress. With that said, he’s found himself playing in more defensive situations down in Providence this season, which is encouraging.

“I would say consistent,” Morrow said when asked about his play in the AHL this season. “I had a mindset coming into this year that I’d start strong and put myself in a good position that if (an injury) did happen, then I would be the guy (called up). I felt like I played really consistent, I think we only played four of five games, but throughout that, I played way over 20 minutes per game and I was a go-to guy. It felt good for once to be relied on in defensive situations and things like that. A lot of positive reviews, so it’s a good confidence booster, I guess.”

With Hamilton and Morrow on the NHL roster, Boston now has two of the highest-ranked defensemen who entered the 2011 draft. The Bruins took Hamilton at pick No. 9, while the Penguins selected Morrow 23rd overall. The former Portland Winterhawks star said Friday that Hamilton is a guy he can ask for help and advice.

“(Dougie Hamilton is) a great guy. He’s a little farther ahead of me, I think he’s got at least 100 NHL games. Hopefully one day I can catch up to him,” Morrow said. “Even to have someone your age that you can almost look up to and see that I can possibly be in that situation too is really nice. Having him around is really good, you can kind of relate to him. It’s good to be here with him.

“He’s an open guy, he’s a really positive kid. He’s really easy to talk to, easy to relate to, and definitely someone I would ask for advice over most people.”

Photo via Amber Searls/USA TODAY Sports Images

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