Getty ImagesBrenden Morrow has six goals in 28 games, and was demoted to the Dallas Stars’ fourth line during this season. He’s the kind of player who carries the weight of every one of his 834 career games when he walks around the bowels of an arena after a game, looking older than his 34 years.
Yet he could be one of the most sought after players at the NHL trade deadline.
Morrow’s physical, gritty style makes him the quintessential “last piece” veteran player. The Mark Recchi type that still can find the back of the net, but really excels at leaving everything he has on the ice when it matters most.
Brenden Morrow: Playoff Warrior is an indelible memory from his last trip to the postseason in 2008. He had 15 points in 18 games, carrying the Stars into the conference finals with one of the most stirring individual efforts of the last decade.
If he gives a team an iota of that effort in the postseason, he’s an asset. So will he move?
Morrow’s in the last year of a six-year deal, going UFA this summer. Here’s how Adam Kimelman of NHL.com scouted the Dallas captain:
The effects of 13 seasons of playing a crash/bang style began to catch up to Morrow last season, as injuries limited him to 57 games, and though he's missed two games this season, he clearly isn't the same player. Coach Glen Gulutzan even tried shifting him to the fourth line in the hope that would somehow spark him. Morrow's skills haven't completely deserted him, but it could be time for a change for both player and team. Morrow was on the younger side when he came into the League, serving as the guy who bumped out Mike Modano and Brett Hull; now he's in their spot as Loui Eriksson and Jamie Benn emerge.
Change can be a good thing, but it’s also a difficult thing when you’ve given your heart, soul and buckets of blood to a franchise for 13 seasons. Morrow has a no-trade clause. He and GM Joe Nieuwendyk are friends going back to the latter’s playing days.
As Morrow told Mike Heika, his legacy with the Stars matters:
“This team is important to me, and I want to play hard and help it win,’’ Morrow said. “Until Joe comes to me and wants to do something, this is still my team. Since I got to this team, the only thing I’ve wanted to do is bring a Cup back to Dallas, so that hasn’t changed, and it won’t change until I quit putting that jersey on.’’
I’ve long thought Morrow would be the perfect coarseness of sandpaper for a team like the Vancouver Canucks, that could use his crash-and-bang in the playoffs. Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said on the Marek vs. Wyshynski podcast that the Pittsburgh Penguins would be interested in is services as well.
Morrow, a terrific captain over the years and a player oozing with character, won't stay in Dallas, I don’t think. His role has been diminished this season, and it’s probably time to make Jamie Benn captain next season. But you’re also very respectful of what Morrow has accomplished for your franchise. Because of his no-trade clause, you let Morrow steer the ship here. Does he want to go win a Cup on a contender? Boston, perhaps? Find him a soft landing spot and let him have fun this spring.
At his best, Morrow already plays like a Bruin. And that’s a compliment.
Where do you see Brenden Morrow fitting at the deadline?