This is the 16th post in my three paragraph player reviews series. You can read what I’ve previously had to say about Eric Neilson (who has been re-signed!), Cedric Paquette, and Mike Angelidis by visiting those links, as I won’t be doing any of these “reviews” for them.
Previous players reviewed in this series:
Adam Erne | Artem Sergeev | Brett Connolly | Dmitry Korobov | Henri Ikonen | Joel Vermin | Jonathan Marchessault | Luke Witkowski | Nikita Nesterov | Tanner Richard | Vladislav Namestnikov | Yanni Gourde | Dalton Smith | Drew Olson | Evan Rankin | Geoff Walker | JP Cote
Defenseman Joey Mormina seemed to have a difficult transition to the Syracuse Crunch. Mormina had spent the majority of his time in the AHL with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Crunch’s divisional foe. His physical playing style antagonized Crunch players and Crunch fans alike last season, especially during the 2013 Eastern Conference finals, and his lack of hesitation to use his body to block shots had frustrated many forwards over the course of his AHL career.
When Tampa Bay inked him to a two year AHL pact last summer, Syracuse fans weren’t exactly sure how to react. After some initial hesitation, most of the Crunch faithful welcomed him once they adjusted to the news, but it seemed to take Mormina himself a bit more time to do the same. Mormina had a slow start and seemed “out of it” for his fair share of shifts. He also suffered several injuries over the course of the season that kept him sitting for 20 games total. Mormina, who had been a captain with the Penguins, was given an “A” with the Crunch, but it appeared to take a while for him to grow comfortable with a leadership role in his new organization.
Mormina will be with the Crunch next season (barring an off season trade, of course), going into the second year of his AHL contract with the organization. He finished this season with 13 points (3g, 10a) and a -9 +/- stat. Crunch fans can only hope that he’s found his footing in Syracuse and is ready to start next season with a fresh perspective and his old energy back, especially with more young blueliners expected to come down the line. They’re going to need strong leadership.
On the very positive side, a good indication of whether Mormina has found his happiness here may be in the following video, from the Crunch’s end of the season interviews. Mormina says that he and his family are staying in Syracuse this summer and are enjoying the area. I think that’s wonderful; it’s great seeing these guys living where they play, and this has hopefully helped his comfort level. If you haven’t seen the video yet, here it is: