St. Louis Blues interested in Brenden Morrow? There’s risk and reward
Brenden Morrow is 33 years old, as the calendar pages turn. His body might be twice that age in hockey years, thanks to a full-throttle style of play and a number of lingering injuries that have taken the tread off his tires.
That said, he's a bit like Shane Doan in the intangible department: Scores the dirty goals, plays the physical game, wears the 'C' and has a warrior-level of competition in the playoffs. Epic poems should be penned about his 15 points in 18 games back in 2008 with the Dallas Stars. He carried them.
Rumors of his trade availability — he has a $4.1 million cap hit and is signed through 2013 — were floating during the trade deadline, although Morrow has a no-trade clause per Cap Geek. They're floating again now, as Jeremy Rutherford of the Post Dispatch reports that Morrow could be the veteran forward the Blues covet.
They may not be the only team asking about Morrow, as the New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings may also be in contact with the Stars.
Morrow, 33, has perhaps seen his time pass in Dallas. The Stars have undergone much change in the past few weeks, signing free-agents Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney and acquiring Derek Roy via trade. The club even dealt Mike Ribeiro, with whom Morrow has shared on-ice chemistry in the past. The moves have seemingly pushed Morrow out of the top-six forwards.
Rutherford notes the Blues have a bit of a logjam on the left side with David Perron, Andy McDonald, Alex Steen and Matt D'Agostini. But D'Agostini could play on right wing and Steen could flip to center.
In a full season, Morrow's good for upwards of 30 goals with around 10 coming on the power play. David Backes led the Blues with eight power-play goals last season.
But again: a full season for Brenden Morrow isn't a given. From Brandon Worley of Defending Big D, back in February:
Now we know that Morrow has been dealing with some tough injuries for much of this season, something he's been working through for nearly two years. A degenerative back injury has increasingly gotten worse and is responding less and less to treatment and this season it came crashing down, leading to a point where Morrow would struggle just to turn his head.
Worley again, blogging about Morrow on Tuesday:
Morrow is coming off, statistically, the worst season of his career and there's no guarantee that his injury issues are behind him. He's elected to not have surgery on his neck, yet has said that his training regimen this summer will be completely changed in an attempt to prepare himself better for this next season. Yet Morrow is also just a year removed from being one of three players in the NHL with 25 goals and 200 hits in a season, and 2010-11 was the best offensive year of his career.
It's in the Stars' best interest to trade Morrow. Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney are the veteran examples/placeholders the young Dallas players will follow. Trading Morrow can hasten the rebuilding process, as he'll return a solid bounty. He's probably not coming back anyway next summer, when he's a UFA.
One wonders if Morrow is being positioned as the consolation prize for whoever doesn't land Shane Doan.