To understand the mutual admiration society that exists between Brenden Morrow and St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong – who just signed the unrestricted free agent to a 1-year, $1.5-million deal – one must revisit the halcyon days of 2006.
Armstrong, then the general manager of the Dallas Stars, gave Morrow a six-year, $24.6 million contract as a player “entering the prime of his career.” But beyond that, Morrow was given something less valuable monetarily but more valuable intrinsically: the captaincy.
More to the point: Mike Modano’s captaincy.
It was a controversial decision at the time, stripping the face of the franchise of the ‘C’; but Morrow had earned the respect of his teammates, the confidence of management and, ultimately, the honor of the captaincy that Armstrong bestowed upon him. It wasn't Modano's team any longer; it needed what Morrow embodied, what he brought to the ice.
Apparently, the Blues need that too.
The Dallas connections don’t end there. Ken Hitchcock coached Morrow in Dallas. Brett Hull, now vice president of business operations in St. Louis, is a close friend, according to STLToday.com.
So despite Armstrong claiming the Blues weren’t going to be in the market for a veteran forward, and despite the Blues having just $1.8 million in cap space before the signing, here’s Morrow.
Where does he fit? He played like a fourth-liner for the Pittsburgh Penguins last postseason, and that’s about where he projects for the Blues at this stage of his career. (He’s 34, with a 64-year-old’s body.)
Jeremy Rutherford points out that the Blues have about seven players with designs on that last line. If Vlad Sobotka’s a lock and Brenden Morrow is a lock and Ryan Reaves plays now and again when the team needs toughness … uh, where exactly does Maxim Lapierre fit into this? Or Adam Cracknell, who played well for the Blues last season and is on a one-way deal?
There’s a few too many bodies here to thing a trade isn’t possible. Good thing Morrow has friends in high places.