WINNIPEG — In his perfect world Josh Morrissey would still be in training camp with the Winnipeg Jets, but he’s taking his demotion to the Manitoba Moose all in stride.
“It’s disappointing for sure,” Morrissey said.
Morrissey, the Jets 2013 first round draft pick has excelled at every level and the 20-year-old is certainly not accustomed to being told he’s not good enough.
“Anytime you go into a camp, especially this being my 3rd year, it was my goal to definitely make the team out of training camp but once I look past that, I was pretty happy with the way I played,” Morrissey said. “Once you get past the fact you’re getting sent down, the initial disappointment, getting up this morning I was pretty excited to come to the rink.”
And with nine defensemen returning on the Jets from last season, the hard reality of Morrissey’s situation was there just wasn’t any room for him with the Jets.
“Obviously there’s a lot of defensemen in Winnipeg right now,” Moose head coach Keith McCambridge said. “But he’s a young individual, a young man, that as they all do have to work on his game and continue to get better. That’s what the American Hockey League is all about.”
“Everyone sees the numbers, everyone knows the contract situation,” Morrissey said. “You know obviously they have a lot of great defensemen up there. There’s a lot of guys that are high end NHL defenseman and have played in the NHL for a long time. So coming in I knew maybe the odds were stacked against me a little bit.”
But Morrissey didn’t let it effect his play in Jets training camp and is trying to stay positive now that he’s with the Moose.
“I thought this year I felt way more comfortable than in years past.” said Morrissey. “I thought I did a lot of good things and improved a lot. From my meeting on the way out with Paul (Maurice) and Chevy (Kevin Cheveldayoff) they also agreed they thought I made a lot of strides in the past year.”
Morrissey already has some pro experience to rely on, having played 28 games for the St. John’s IceCaps in 2014 after his Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League were eliminated from the playoffs.
“I’m gonna be out there with a lot of guys I know, breaking into the pro ranks with a lot of my friends. Coming in with guys that I’ve played with in the past, you know on the run a few years ago. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Morrissey said. “I’m excited to get started down here and just continue to work and continue to get better. All you can do is work hard and control what you can.”