Dallas Stars Trade Brenden Morrow: A Fond Adieu to The Captain

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Trading a captain and a face of the franchise in Morrow is necessary evil of the business, but Stars fans will remember the former captain's dedication and sacrifice.

Brenden Morrow, or "The captain", as Bill Oellermann often intoned, is a Pittsburgh Penguin.

It's an odd reality for a Dallas Stars fan on this Monday morning, but perhaps not an entirely unfamiliar feeling.

Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen, Sergei Zubov, Marty Turco - Even Steve Ott and Mike Ribeiro. They've all moved on, or have been moved, and the list of players that saw the Stars' last playoff action shrinks to only Loui Eriksson, Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley.

The nature of the business necessitates these moves, though the payoff is often hotly debated. What did the Stars get for Steve Ott, for example? Either an extended Derek Roy, or perhaps more likely, a nice return on a pending trade.

What did the Stars get for Brenden Morrow?

Defensive prospect Joe Morrow, oddly enough, and a controllable asset for years to come, but that pales in comparison this morning to what I think is a better question on a day like this:

What did the Stars get from Brenden Morrow?

Everything.

From day one he delighted Stars faithful, making the jump to the NHL from Juniors nearly immediately after a nine-game cup of coffee in the IHL. He scored 33 points in 64 games as a rookie and played in 21 of the Stars' 23 playoff games en route to that game six loss to New Jersey.

His ascendancy to coveted power forward and gritty leader was rapid as the Stars saw four Pacific Division championships during his tenure and multiple second place finishes in the West.

He played in 14 playoff series with the Stars. He leaves 2nd in Dallas Stars history with 43 game winning goals. He is tied with Jere Lehtinen at 243 for second most goals scored by a Dallas Star. He leads all Dallas Stars in team history with 1,203 penalty minutes. He's scored the second most power play goals since the team has come to Dallas (79).

All of that with nearly three lost seasons due to two lockouts, a severed wrist tendon and a torn ACL in 2008.

The tangible is there, and he's carved out a big place for himself in the history of this team in that manner, but it's the intangible for which Morrow will be remembered in Dallas.

He'll be remembered for his patented "reversal". He'll be remembered for hopping on one functioning leg to the Vancouver bench in the spring of 2007 to confront Alex Burrows late in a brutal series. He'll be remembered for his Conn Smythe worthy performance of 2008, if not for the Red Wings ultimately standing in his way.

He wholly and willingly gave his body to his craft, and broke it often in the duties of captaining this franchise - The embodiment of leadership and sacrifice in his prime.

That's how Brenden Morrow should be thought of as he moves on.

The trade itself is tough, but it could be a "win-win". Morrow will be back where he belongs with Pittsburgh: In the postseason. It gives him a change of scenery and a prime opportunity to earn another contract for next year. For Dallas it's asset management and maximizing value where there's a market for what they had available, even if the parting is sorrowful.

"The biggest thing I try to do is have honesty and integrity with them," Nieuwendyk said of parting with the likes of Modano, Turco, and Morrow.

"I think that's the only way to handle these things. That's what I did with Brenden, and that's what I tried to do with all of them. I want to be true to my words. I think they know it's a tough job and I have to make tough decisions, and in the end I have to do what I think is best for the franchise."

What will Morrow's legacy be with the Dallas Stars? Will you remember him more as part of a duo with Mike Ribeiro? Will he be thought of with the old guard, going back all the way to the fall of 1999? Or will he and Marty Turco together be the faces of an era of Stars hockey that saw some good teams, but ultimately ones that weren't good enough?

Maybe a little bit of everything.

Or maybe just Brenden Morrow: Warrior.

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