It Should Be Morrow

Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets
Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

The Hurricanes started off the playoffs with two big wins over an defensively tough Islanders team.  The playmakers have stepped up and been difference makers when called upon in both games 1 & 2. However, in the midst of the Hurricanes first two wins, they suffered a huge loss in their defensive core with Brett Pesce going down with an injury.  Early reports indicate that Pesce will miss at least the rest of the series, leaving the ‘Canes with a major hole in their second pairing.  This hole, in my opinion, should be filled by rookie Scott Morrow, rather than Tony DeAngelo.

Starting with DeAngelo, he is a veteran who has playoff experience throughout his career.  However, in his appearances this season, DeAngelo has proven that he is a liability on the back end for a typically defensively responsible team.  There are many things DeAngelo does very well.  He is an elite offensive defenseman and is a difference maker on the powerplay.  But, wth DeAngelo, this is where his contributions end.  Without the safety net of Jaccob Slavin as his partner, DeAngelo simply cannot be counted on to play big minutes in the playoffs.  

Now with Morrow, he is an unknown who only played 2 NHL games after being signed following the NCAA season.  We know his scouting report out of college as a two-way defenseman that leans more toward the offensive side of the game. One can also make the argument that Morrow and DeAngelo play very similar games.  It would certainly be a risk, but we already have seen the shortcomings of DeAngelo this season; and if we insert Morrow instead, the ‘Canes will know right away if Morrow is a player that can be counted on as a top 4 defenseman moving forward. There is a chance that Morrow will rise to the occasion and be a great complement to Brady Skjei on the second pairing. If Morrow performs well, it will make the offseason decision looming around extending Brett Pesce much easier. 

It is very likely that the ‘Canes will opt for experience and dress TDA over Scott Morrow  in place of Brett Pesce ahead of game 3 in Long Island.  While this is the most likely scenario, I believe that we will be better off giving Morrow the chance to prove himself. Between DeAngelo’s ineffective defensive zone play and penchant to get taken out of the game mentally, the Hurricanes will be better off letting Morrow have his shot. Heroes and franchise legends are born out of playoff runs; Cam Ward was a seldom used rookie when the ‘Canes last won the cup.  Maybe it can be Morrow this year.