The Dallas Stars have made it official, sending captain Brenden Morrow and a third round pick to the Pittsburgh Penguins for defenseman Joe Morrow and a fifth rounder.
Obviously, the trade is perhaps the most momentous move the franchise has made since perhaps the trade for Brad Richards -- but it's even deeper than that. This was the team captain, this was a player who had spent his entire career with Dallas and had become known for his hard work and for leaving it all on the ice for this franchise game in and game out.
Obviously, there's going to be a lot to say about such a trade -- and we'll have our detailed thoughts on everything tomorrow.
In the meantime, general manager Joe Nieuwendyk spoke to Mark Stepneski of Stars Inside Edge about the trade. Here are some highlights:
"These are always tough decisions. My goal in this has always been to try to keep an eye on the future and, with my respect for Brenden Morrow, to try to find him a situation, if at all, that makes sense for him. I really believe we've accomplished two things here. We've added a young prospect our guys are really excited about, a former first rounder from Pittsburgh. We have good knowledge about him from our ties in the Western Hockey League. So we're excited about that, a 20-year-old, potential top four defenseman. Brenden has an opportunity to play playoff hockey with a good group of players in Pittsburgh. I think it will be real good for him as well."
On trading Morrow, who is a close friend:
"Yep. I love the guy. We've had some emotional talks over the years. I have nothing but the utmost respect for him, what he has done for the franchise and the way he plays. He did that to his last game. He'll always be considered a Dallas Star. He also knows he's got some fight left in him, but it's clear what we are doing here, too. We've incorporated some young prospects. We've signed Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr and I think he realizes that his best opportunity to do what he wants to do over the next two or three years is to go play with Pittsburgh in the playoffs."
Here's the official press release:
FRISCO, Texas - Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced today that the club has acquired defenseman Joe Morrow and a fifth-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Brenden Morrow and a third-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.
"Brenden Morrow has represented everything we could ever ask for in a Dallas Star over the past 14 years, giving his heart and soul to this franchise. On behalf of the entire Dallas Stars organization, we wish Brenden nothing but the best going forward and thank him sincerely for his years of service," said Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk. "That being said, we had a great opportunity to acquire a young, top-end defenseman in Joe Morrow and we are delighted to add him to our organization. We identified Joe as an outstanding prospect and a target for acquisition if ever available, and we feel he can solidify our blue line for the foreseeable future."
Joe Morrow, 20, was Pittsburgh's first-round selection (23rd overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The 6-foot-1, 204-pound defenseman spent four full seasons playing for the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League (WHL), where he increased his point totals in each of his final three seasons with the team, earning 31, 49 and 64 points, respectively. During the 2011-12 season, he ranked second among all WHL defensemen in scoring with 64 points (17G-47A) and finished as a WHL First-Team All-Star. Additionally, the Edmonton native helped lead his club to the WHL Finals, earning 17 points (4G-13A) in their playoff run, which was tied for the most by any Portland defenseman.
This season, Morrow has played for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Pittsburgh's development affiliate in the American Hockey League, earning 15 points (4G-11A) in 57 games for the club. He was recalled by Pittsburgh on Feb. 10, but did not skate in an NHL game.
Brenden Morrow, 34, has spent his entire 14-year career with the Stars, including the last seven campaigns as the club's captain, after being drafted by Dallas in the first round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft (25th overall). Morrow has skated in 835 career NHL games, and is tied for seventh in Stars franchise history in goals (243), tenth in assists (285), eighth in points (528), fourth in plus/minus (+102), fourth in penalty minutes (1,203) and second in game-winning goals (43). The Carlyle, Sask., native has also skated in 78 playoff games with Dallas, earning 42 points (17G-25A) and 100 penalty minutes, as well as three of the Stars' last four game-winning goals. Morrow has 11 points (6G-5A) in 29 games so far this season.
The 6-foot, 210-pound forward has skated for Team Canada on seven different occasions, most notably winning the gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He also won gold in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and 2004 World Championships, and silver in the 2005 World Championships and the 1999 World Juniors.