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Brenden Morrow Available; Will Ottawa Show Interest?

July 10, 2012, 12:05 PM ET [47 Comments]
Travis Yost
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According to a report by Pro Hockey Talk, the Dallas Stars are now fielding calls regarding thirty-three year old winger Brenden Morrow, an aging but talented two-way scorer that's just one year removed from a thirty-three goal season.

Much like every other scoring-type forward that's rumored to have hit the trading block over the past couple of weeks, one has to wonder if the Ottawa Senators will again show interest. Remember, Bryan Murray's two-pronged assault on the off-season has only been half fulfilled -- probably -- with the addition of blue liner Marc Methot. The team has yet to acquire the twenty-five goal man they have been actively targeting, and it's doubtful that the front office has such extreme confidence in low-risk signing Guillaume Latendresse.

This isn't the first time around the block for Brenden Morrow, so to speak -- his name popped up at the trade deadline, but I'm not exactly sure the organization was ready to part with one of the faces of their franchise just yet, especially in the midst of the playoff race. Once again, GM Joe Nieuwendyk has decided to entertain a potential trade, thanks in large part to the surplus of wing talent now in the organization -- Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn, Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder, and Ray Whitney give them five(!)options in the top-six, although two of them are only viable in the short-term.

The logic surrounding shopping Morrow deals somewhat with the many options they now have on the outside, but also has to do with the kind of haul Brenden Morrow can get. See, Morrow is the complete package -- an undeniably gifted goal-scorer and playmaker that still has a few good years left. Defensively, he's quite impressive, too.

The only reason why his numbers have been curtailed a bit? He's battled knee problems in the past, and it's going to raise a red flag among potential trade suitors. Rightfully so.

Said Morrow of his availability back in April:

"I'm not going to lie, it's really tough to hear," said Morrow, referring to the speculation. "But at the same time, I saw it with franchise players, good friends. If it happened to Mike Modano, it can happen to anyone. I don't like it; I'm uncomfortable with it. I want us to win, I want us to be better, but I also understand this is a business and some of the things are out of my control. So what I can control is to get myself as healthy as I can and work as hard as I can and hope I perform as well as I can. I'd love to be a part of the solution next year, and hopefully management agrees."

Morrow is signed through 2012-2013 at a reasonable $4.1M cap hit, so there's a bit of flexibility on the end of the buyer with regards to a future extension. In today's cap world -- the same cap world where players like David Jones have earned comparable dollar at $4m per -- the payment is probably definitely worth it, so long as he's giving you a relatively full season. Past production below:

With a variety of scoring options in Dallas over the past couple of seasons, I wanted to check out some of Morrow's peripheral numbers, specifically Corsi and how head coaches Marc Crawford and Glen Gulutzan employed him.

Morrow, as the team leader, has taken on a brutally tough and unsheltered role with Dallas, but has experienced mixed success over the past couple of years. Morrow's possession numbers were pretty ugly amongst forwards last season, but combine that with the toughest quality of competition amongst forwards and an injury-plagued season, and it's somewhat expected.

A year prior in 2010-2011, the same year where Morrow scored thirty-three goals in a healthy season, he again played against some of the toughest talent(just behind Adam Burish and Mike Ribeiro), but performed far better in the offensive department. Morrow's Corsi Relative QualComp was best amongst all forwards(65+ GP), with Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro slotting in at two and three.

In that season, Morrow's individual shooting splits and the shooting splits of his linemates were a bit inflated(15%; 11.36%), but concerning his overall production, regression wasn't entirely expected. After all, when Morrow was on the ice that season, his goaltending only stopped 89.6% of all shots -- second-worst amongst forwards. So, if one was expecting his fifty-six point season to scale down a touch, one would also have to assume that his defensive metrics would drastically improve, and unsurprisingly, they did the following year.

Looking at the past two or three year sample, there really isn't much -- if any -- evidence to suggest that Morrow's game is suffering, so long as he can return to health. And, if Ottawa was to go out and acquire a player like Morrow this summer, the top-six -- following the loss of Nick Foligno -- could look pretty damn impressive, aided by Milan Michalek's flexibility as a LW/RW.

Of course, any trade for Morrow will cost a bit in picks and prospects, but much like any other potential trade target blog I've penned over the past couple of weeks, that's an area where Ottawa can comfortably deal.

If you're Bryan Murray, would you pursue Brenden Morrow? And, at what cost?


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