Jeremy Morin knew there was a chance he would soon be traded by the Chicago Blackhawks, but it still came to a surprise when it actually played out on Sunday.
Morin received a phone call Sunday morning and was informed he was being dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blackhawks received defenseman Tim Erixon in exchange.
“Obviously, it’s a shock when it happens,” Morin said in a phone interview on Sunday. “It’s kind of your whole world changes in one phone call. Again, I’m excited about it. I’m ready to play some games here.”
Morin’s days with the Blackhawks appeared numbered recently when he was made a healthy scratch for eight consecutive games and then was placed on a conditioning assignment with the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. He played his third game with the IceHogs on Saturday. He had zero points in 15 games for the Blackhawks this season.
Morin thought it was best for he and the Blackhawks to move on.
“I think it happened to come to that,” the 23-year-old Morin said. “Obviously, I was hoping the beginning of the season would go differently. The same time, again, they’ve given me a lot.
“I had a lot of good times with the Blackhawks and in Rockford. I’m grateful for all that they gave me. I spent my first five years pro in the organization. They’re obviously a first-class organization. It was easy to be a part of."
Morin was expected to be given a more significant role with the Blackhawks this season after being shifted between the AHL and NHL last season. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville and general manager Stan Bowman both envisioned in the offseason for Morin, who led the IceHogs in goals the previous two years, to move up in the lineup. That never happened, and Morin played mainly on the fourth line and averaged 7:44 of ice time this season. Quenneville often noted he wanted more consistency from Morin.
Morin wouldn’t say whether he felt he received a fair shot to succeed this season.
“I don’t want to reflect on that,” Morin said. “They gave me an opportunity. I was grateful for it. I’m excited about this.”
Morin described being traded to Columbus as a “fresh start.” He didn't expect anything to be handed to him. He is just seeking an opportunity. He is still confident he can fulfill his potential and be a 20-plus goal scorer in the NHL.
“No matter where you’re at, I have to earn ice time and earn a role,” Morin said. “You do that by playing good hockey. I’m excited about the hockey.
“I’m very confident in my ability. I think you have to be. Obviously, it wasn’t the start I wanted to the season. I happened to go through a stretch. I’m hoping I can turn over a new leaf and play some good hockey.”
A number of Blackhawks, especially Andrew Shaw, continued to encourage Morin as he didn't play the last few weeks. Shaw wrote on Twitter after the trade, “Wishing a good friend and teammate best of luck with his team will miss yah @jmorin91.”
Morin appreciated Shaw's message and the overall support from the Blackhawks.
“I think most importantly they’re teammates, but they’re also your friends off the ice,” Morin said. “You want to see your friends do well. It’s nice to have the support. You always miss your teammates. I have been playing with the same guys the last few years. They’ll always be your friends.”
Coincidentally, Morin will be seeing those friends and the Blackhawks soon again. The Blue Jackets host the Blackhawks on Saturday.
“It’ll be weird playing against your ex-teammates,” Morin said. “There’s no bad blood. I’m excited what Chicago gave me. It’ll just be weird playing ex-teammates.”