ARLINGTON, VA. – The Washington Capitals have signed unrestricted free agent center Brendan Morrison to a one-year contract, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
A 5’11", 181-pound native of Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Morrison has had 50-plus points six times, including four 20-goal seasons. He has played 755 career games with four teams – Dallas, Anaheim, Vancouver and New Jersey – spanning 12 NHL seasons. Morrison has 175 goals and 330 assists (505 points) in his NHL career, with career highs in goals (25), assists (46) and points (71) coming in 2002-03 with the Canucks.
Morrison, who will turn 34 on Aug. 15, split last season between Anaheim and Dallas, posting 16 goals and 31 points in 81 games. He had 32 penalty minutes and a +3 rating. Morrison played 542 consecutive NHL games from 2000-07, but was hampered by injuries the past two seasons.
For more on this signing from the Washington perspective, check out the always brilliant musings from the guys over at Japers' Rink.
Although terms were not disclosed, Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News reported that it was worth somewhere between $1.5 and two million per season.
I imagine this news isn't going to elicit strong feelings one way or the other. In 543 career games with Vancouver spanning eight seasons, Morrison posted a 0.72 point per game mark. His lowest point per game mark during his eight years in the Pacific Northwest was 0.62 in 2006-07.
But Morrison had knee surgery in April of 2008 to repair a torn ACL in his right knee and was only signed to a one-year deal worth $2.75 million by the Anaheim Ducks. And after putting up just 22 points in 62 games, the Ducks placed him on waivers at the trade deadline and he was claimed by Dallas where he played out the final 19 games of the regular season.
To be sure, he posted a respectable nine points with six goals with the Stars. But between the two Pacific Division rivals, he posted a mark of 0.38 points per game last season. Certainly a far cry from the offensive weapon he was with Vancouver.
Obviously, some Stars fans thought the hire of Morrison's former coach in Vancouver, Marc Crawford, might sway Morrison to stay here. But he was brought on board at the trade deadline as purely a depth move with Brad Richards and Toby Petersen out with injuries at the center position. Which means had Morrison re-signed with the Stars and wished to play on one of the top two lines, he would have needed to switch to a wing.
And let's be honest, Morrison is best served as a table setter. Just like Ribeiro in Dallas. And in Washington, he'll have the opportuntity to set the table for, arguably, the best offensive player in the league in Alex Ovechkin.
I can't say I blame him.