ST PAUL, MN - JANUARY 21: Josh Harding #37 of the Minnesota Wild looks on as Brenden Morrow #10 of the Dallas Stars brings the puck around the net in the first period on January 21, 2012 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
It's seemed that for going on three years now, talk has endlessly swirled around the possibility of the Dallas Stars trading captain Brenden Morrow. The fiery leader of the Dallas Stars is someone who be very valuable to a Cup contending team and could present the final piece to the puzzle for a team hoping to make the long run to the Cup Finals.
Many remember Morrow's play in the 2008 playoffs, when he put this team on his back and carried them all the way to the Western Conference Finals. For that summer, at least, all of the criticisms about his ability as the captain of the team were gone and he was a hero in Dallas once more.
Since that summer, however, Morrow has been on a bit of a rollercoaster. He played just 18 games the following season when a torn ACL cut his year short and he had just 20 goals and 46 points in 2009-10 in 76 games. With Morrow on pace for around 15 goals and 40+ points again this season, it appears that Stars fans are ready to move on from the aging forward -- and see just what sort of assets can be had for what could be a valuable commodity for the right team.
Bob McKenzie, he of TSN, posted this afternoon that such a possibility might exist.
There is certainly some talk within the NHL community anticipating that Morrow "may" become available between now and the NHL trade deadline.
One team executive told TSN that he heard "Morrow might be available" and "we certainly intend to find out if he is."
There are a number of issues with this entire scenario, so let's break those down after the jump.
First, and most obvious, is the fact that Brenden Morrow has a full NTC and one more year left on his contract. He's not going anywhere, to any team, unless he specifically wants to. He's lived in Dallas his entire career, he's the captain of the team, the Stars are still in the playoff hunt and Dallas has been his home for almost all of his adult life.
Asking a 33-year old to just get up and go won't be that easy, especially if there's a chance the Stars could still make the playoffs. So, that's problem number one and the biggest issue with this whole mess.
Secondly, Morrow's decline isn't exactly as drastic as Dallas Stars fans try to make it out to be. There has been a growing voice in the fan community that Morrow's leadership isn't what it used to be and he's to blame for many of the issues that have plagued the Stars the last few years. When you combine those thoughts with his apparent offensive drop off this season, and fans have all of the fodder they need to claim he needs to be traded.
For his career, outside of a few big seasons, Morrow averages around 20 goals and 43 points. This season, he's on pace for close to that but will likely fall short because of injury. He's never been the most stout defensive player and this season, because of the lack of offense by the second line, his defensive shortcomings are magnified.
He's also been fighting through injury, perhaps detrimentally to himself and his team, and it's been obvious that his back issues have had a lasting negative effect on his play. Morrow leads the NHL in minor penalties, yet he still won't come close to the 183 PIM he racked up in 2006-2007.
Morrow is going to be 34 years old next season and he has a lot of miles under his belt. He has 867 total games in the NHL, and he's played every game as one of the most physical players on the ice. For fans to not expect an eventual decline is disingenuous and it's unfortunate that the Stars have been unable to put Morrow in a better position to succeed this season.
So, is Morrow as deserving of the scorn he's received at times? Certainly not, although he has struggled more this season than at any time in the past. That doesn't suddenly make him someone the team needs to get rid of, because he's hurting the Stars on their way to the playoffs.
What I can understand, however, is the need to move veteran players for future assets -- if possible, and for the right price. The Stars, while still trying to win now, are also building to the future and holding on to aging players past their prime is far from a recipe for success.
Yet the price must be right and there must be a market for him. It appears that there are teams out there that would be interested should Morrow become available, but that's a very slippery game to play with the current leader of a team fighting for the playoffs. Even with all of the current issues listed above, it's likely that teams -- and other fans -- are still holding onto the glory of four years ago instead of seeing the reality that's on the ice this season.
You wonder just how good the deal would have to be for Nieuwendyk to even consider approaching Morrow to waive his NTC.
Then there's the fact that the Stars are still riding the cap floor. While they've created some room with injuries and some bonuses, moving over $4 million in salary means the Stars need more than just picks and prospects in return. Although, if the Stars wait until just before the deadline a trade could conceivably work and the Stars stay above the cap floor without taking on remaining salary.
It's unfortunate to see a franchise player like Morrow be met with such anger and angst by the fanbase this season, but this is a Show Me league and Morrow is the captain of a Stars team that is struggling with emotional consistency. The hope is that fans approach this trade deadline with realistic expectations of who should be traded and who could be, especially with the NTC's on the team.
Morrow, while he may be declining and hurt, has been a fixture on this team since the Stanley Cup years. While he's not what he once was, not many 33-year power forwards with over 800 games are. Would the Stars listen to an offer at the right price? I'm guessing so, but it's going to take one heck of a trade offer to make moving Brenden Morrow even worth it.