Colorado Avalanche Prospect Cam Morrison to Return to College

MANCHESTER, NH - MARCH 26: Cam Morrison
MANCHESTER, NH - MARCH 26: Cam Morrison /

Colorado Avalanche prospect, Cam Morrison, has decided to complete his college career, putting him in jeopardy of becoming a UFA.

The Colorado Avalanche’s second-round draft pick from 2016, Cam Morrison, has announced he will return to college hockey for his senior year. Morrison is at the University of Notre Dame.

Morrison has spent the last three years with the Fighting Irish. In those three years, he has played 112 games and recorded 68 points (31 goals, 37 assists) in the regular season.

Today, with around six weeks left of his school year, Morrison declared that he would return to Notre Dame next year:

"“At this time I’m excited to announce that I’ll be returning for my senior season and to enjoy one more year with my best friends. I’m committed to getting my degree and I’m ready to get back to work with my teammates and coaches. We still have some unfinished business and our team is ready to put in the work to ensure more success moving forward.”"

There’s definitely something to be said for completing your university degree, even if you initially attended college to play a sport there.

According to the University of Notre Dame, Cam has become a “big-game” player for the Fighting Irish. In 17 playoff games, he’s recorded 13 points (8 goals, 5 assists). He also scored a game-winning goal in overtime that sent the team to the 2019 NCAA Northeast Regional final.

Unfortunately, Morrison’s commitment to UND puts the Colorado Avalanche in something of a quandary. According to the CBA rules [8.6(c)(i)], NCAA players who have completed four years of university can become unrestricted free agents on August 16th;

"” If a Player drafted at age 18 or 19 is a bona fide college student at the time of his selection in the Entry Draft, or becomes a bona fide college student prior to the first June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft, and remains a bona fide college student through the graduation of his college class, his drafting Club shall retain the exclusive right of negotiation for his services through and including the August 15 following the graduation of his college class. The Club need not make a Bona Fide Offer to such Player to retain such rights.”"

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But we, as Avs fans, knew this already. That loophole is the reason we lost Will Butcher, whom Colorado drafted in 2013, and who flew away to the New Jersey Devils after graduating from Denver University in 2017. Of course, that’s also how we acquired Harvard graduate Alexander Kerfoot, who was ironically drafted by the Devils that year.

Is that the path Cam Morrison is planning to take? It’s hard to say. Players often choose that path when they think they won’t be able to fit into their NHL team’s system or when they don’t want to play for a bad team.

Colorado isn’t a bad team. And while Morrison may be relegated to the AHL Eagles, they’re not bad either. In fact, they’re competing in the playoffs, just like the Avs.

Losing Morrison wouldn’t be any more of a disaster than losing Butcher was. However, it will sting because of his draft year. In 2016, the Colorado Avalanche selected the following players:

  • Tyson Jost, 10th overall
  • Cam Morrison, 40th overall
  • Josh Anderson, 71st overall
  • Adam Werner, 131st overall
  • Nathan Clurman, 161st overall
  • Travis Barron, 191st overall

Of those players, Anderson and Barron are signed and playing for the Eagles, sometimes Utah Grizzlies (ECHL). Jost is currently being abused by Jared Bednar. (It’s been a while since I poked that hornet’s nest.) Werner is rumored to be coming to Colorado (or Utah), but that’s unverified at the time of writing.

Morrison is the shiny jewel still waiting in that draft. Losing a second-round draft pick is less than ideal.

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However, there’s no guarantee the Colorado Avalanche will fail to sign Morrison. They have from the time his college career ends — in mid-April at the very latest — until August 15 to sign him.