NEW YORK/TORONTO – Edmonton goaltender Mike Morrison, who began the season with Greenville, was named Defensive Player of the Week by the National Hockey League on Monday.
Morrison becomes the second ECHL goaltender in a row to win the award and the third in the month of November. Former Peoria and current St. Louis Blues goaltender Curtis Sanford won on Nov. 21 and former Richmond and current Detroit Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace won on Nov. 1.
Morrison, who played his first NHL game on November 7, led the Oilers to three consecutive victories, two by shootout, with a goals-against average of 1.58 and a .933 save percentage. Buffalo’s Martin Biron, who played for South Carolina in the ECHL, was runner-up for the award after going 3-0-0 with a goals-against average of 1.95.
Selected in the seventh round (186th overall) by Edmonton in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Morrison served as the backup goaltender for the Oilers during the first week of the NHL season before returning to Greenville where he is 1-1-0 with a goals-against average of 3.01 and a save percentage of .895 in two games before being recalled on October 24.
After making 21 saves in a 2-1 shootout win against San Jose on Monday, Morrison stopped 25 shots in a 4-3 win at Minnesota on Wednesday before having 27 saves in a 2-1 shootout win at Calgary on Friday. He stopped six of seven shootout attempts, including all four shooters against the Flames. Morrison is 4-0-0 with a goals-against average of 1.38 and a save percentage of .944 in six NHL games.
The 6-foot-3 and 203-pound Morrison began his professional career in the ECHL in 2002-03 with Columbus where he was 9-18-6 with a goals-against average of 3.48 and a save percentage of .892 in 38 games. In 2004-05, the 26-year-old was 13-10-2 with a shutout, a goals-against average of 2.74 and a save percentage of .924 in 26 games with Greenville and 2-5-5 with two shutouts, a goals-against average of 1.73 and a save percentage of .939 in 14 games with Edmonton of the American Hockey League.