Friday, January 27, 2012

Morrison Goes to the Windy City

2011/2012 Stats2012July 1st Details
To ChicagoPosAgeGPGAPCap HitYearsCap Hit
Brendan MorrisonF36284711$1.25m0UFA
To CalgaryPosAgeGPGAPCap HitYearsCap Hit
Brian ConnellyD250000$525k0RFA

The All-Star weekend has seen its fair share of scuttlebutt and the regular season hiatus is a melting pot of great rumours and other nonsense, but when a trade goes down, you really tend to take notice that the nonsense may not be as such.

On Friday evening, the Calgary Flames sent veteran centre Brendan Morrison to the Blackhawks for undrafted minor-league defenseman Brian Connelly, likely opening more cans of worms than closing down rumours out of the spectacle of a weekend.

In Morrison, the Blackhawks get some depth down the middle, which could be a genuine concern with an upper-body injury to Jonathan Toews, but that's in a worst-case scenario. Morrison is a versatile centre that has some value, if used in the top pivot role for short periods of time and also has bottom six merit, which could be a serious aid to a player like Dave Bolland.  Scoring-wise, he isn't bringing the offense like some may have hoped, but he should still be a reliable source of minutes

In Connelly, the Flames to acquire a little extra depth on the blueline, more as insurance against more injuries down the line, which they have not been very fortunate with this year.  Connelly has plenty of positive numbers in the AHL, but there has been nothing to really suggest that he is a fit for the NHL.  The Flames do have a knack for using depth players in big minute situations, so who knows with Connelly.

Salary CapThe Flames are doing some saving, while the Blackhawks are adding some to their depth and it does look like this is a move that will benefit both teams. The Flames are looking to do something big, while the Blackhawks are just trying to improve upon a formula that has some real potential at the moment.  The Flames are dealing with some long-term injuries, which will make some interesting things comes about when bodies get healthy, while the Blackhawks are okay on the cap side of things this season.

ImplicationsWell, Morrison is only a Box 4 pool player at the moment, getting very little interest out of the draft pool and possibly justifiably so. Morrison's point production hasn't been great and depending on how long Toews is out of the Blackhawks line-up, he could easily find himself in a lesser role in Chicago before too long, so his end-of-season value could be a bit jaded.  Does this make him into a good option for the draft, with the waiver draft upon us?  Unlikely.

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