We're always hesitant to report or even acknowledge trade rumors, but this is something more significant. As always, however, please take this report as nothing more than speculation until we hear something more significant.
Update, Part 2: The St. Louis Blues re-signed Jamie Langenbrunner to a one-year contract. That seems to put the lid on any discussion about trading Morrow to the Blues.
Update: Per Mike Heika, he hasn't heard anything about a possible Morrow trade. We also received zero indications such a move was in the works over the weekend. Once again, take this report as pure speculation.
With the Dallas Stars apparently working to move away from the "old guard" and into a new era of hockey for the franchise, chatter has heated up that Brenden Morrow could be the next player moved out of town. The left wing and long-time captain of the Stars suffered through some major neck and back injuries last season and put up the lowest production totals of his career.
To make matters worse, Morrow was on pace to lead the NHL in minor penalties before his injuries sidelined him midseason and when he returned, it was clear that he wasn't the same captain we'd come to know and love over the years. Morrow was eventually moved to the third and fourth line, where he seemed to have a better impact on the team, but it's uncertain whether he'll be able to return to form at the age of 33 and a career of taking an incredible beating in the tough areas of the ice game in and game out.
While trade speculation with Morrow has run rampant since last season, it seems that the talk is indeed heating up -- and the St. Louis Blues is the team that is interested. From Jeremy Rutherford of St. Louis Today:
The Blues have prioritized adding a top-four defenseman this offseason, and after failing to land one in free agency, the trade route may be the club's only option. But while that search continues, Armstrong might have found a veteran forward to add to the mix.
Dallas captain Brenden Morrow is believed to be available and it appears that the Blues have interest. They may not be the only team asking about Morrow, as the New York Rangers, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings may also be in contact with the Stars.
Rutherford states that other teams could also be interested, but we haven't heard anything regarding discussions with the Sharks or Kings.
More after the jump.
After talking with several people around the team this weekend it's clear that any move regarding Morrow would likely be an agreement between both sides, one that gives Morrow a chance to play a bigger role than he might be receiving from the Stars this season and a trade that helps the Stars as well. Morrow would have to agree to any trade that is made, and going to a team coached by Ken Hitchcock would certainly make sense.
The big question regarding this report is two-fold: What value does Morrow hold in a trade and what would the Blues be willing to give up.
Morrow is coming off, statistically, the worst season of his career and there's no guarantee that his injury issues are behind him. He's elected to not have surgery on his neck, yet has said that his training regimen this summer will be completely changed in an attempt to prepare himself better for this next season. Yet Morrow is also just a year removed from being one of three players in the NHL with 25 goals and 200 hits in a season, and 2010-11 was the best offensive year of his career.
Morrow, if healthy, is the exact sort of veteran presence a team looking to "get over the hump" would love to have, and it's likely he might have been close to being traded last season if his injuries had not kept him off the ice at the time of the deadline. When we're talking about the "plan" of moving to the youth and away from the core of players of the past six years, Morrow doesn't seem to be a part of that plan.
On the Blues side, it'd be interesting to see what they would give up. It's possible that Morrow and Stephane Robidas could both be involved in such a trade -- as the Blues need a top-four defenseman -- and that would certainly make the return much more intriguing. The Blues are a deep organization and while they don't have the best defensive prospects that they'd be willing to part with, it's possible the Stars could continue their makeover of the forwards and ask for a player like Patrik Berglund in return.
The value for Morrow is going to be nowhere near what we'd expect for the Team Captain, and we'd have to be prepared for something similar to what Mike Ribeiro gained from Washington -- and likely less than that. Morrow alone seems to be of the same value as a mid-range pick and a mid-level prospect, but paired with Robidas would certainly gain more value from the Blues.