Morrow trade similar to 2009 Guerin deal for Pittsburgh

By: Tim Kolupanowich

@TimKolupan_

Earlier tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins made the first big splash before the April 3 trade deadline by acquiring Brenden Morrow and a 2013 third-round pick from the Dallas Stars in exchange for defenseman Joe Morrow and a 2013 fifth-round pick.

With the trade to Pittsburgh, Brenden Morrow will play a playoff game for the first time since 2008. (Resolute/Wikimedia Commons).

With the trade to Pittsburgh, Brenden Morrow will play a playoff game for the first time since 2008. (Resolute/Wikimedia Commons).

The 34-year-old left wing has spent his entire 13-year career in Dallas, scoring 30 goals twice and 20 goals seven times, but has struggled to find the scoresheet in recent years with only 17 goals in 86 games over the past two seasons. The trade gives Morrow his best chance to win the Stanley Cup since he made it to the final his rookie season in 1999-2000, just one season after Dallas won its only championship. He also helped Dallas reach the 2008 Western Conference final the last time he reached the playoffs, recording nine goals in 18 games including the semifinal series-winning goal against San Jose in the fourth overtime period of Game 6.

In Joseph Morrow, the Stars acquire a defenseman picked 23rd overall in 2011. He has posted 4-11-15 with a minus-7 in 57 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American League this year after spending five seasons with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western League. In 227 games in major junior, Morrow recorded 33-118-151 with a plus-38.

Via NHL.com, here is what Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk had to say about the trade, which Morrow had to waive his No Trade Clause in order to approve:

“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,” Dallas Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said Sunday night. “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 [Stanley Cup] Playoffs.”

If they weren’t already, this trade should make Pittsburgh the favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup final. Whether he’s finishing his chances or not, Morrow works hard every shift and should fit right in with his new Penguins teammates. Known more for their top-end talent, there is also a ton of grit in the lineup that makes them difficult to play against. Whether he’s banging bodies in the corners in a supporting role or crashing the net on the power play to make room for Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, Morrow will be a coveted player for the black and gold. Although he may not have a Stanley Cup ring, Morrow was a part of the 2010 gold medal-winning Canadian Olympic team, recording 2-1-3 in seven games with a plus-3 while playing 11:04 per game.

This move is highly similar to the trade that brought Bill Guerin to Pittsburgh in the 2008-09 season, giving them the veteran know-how they needed in order to Capture their first Stanley Cup since 1992. The two are similar players and Guerin’s presence was felt immediately  helping them to a 12-2-3 record in their final 17 games before finishing third on the team in playoff scoring with 7-8-15. Morrow would love to have that sort of impact in the Steel City, especially since he had a choice as to which team he would go to. As Harrison Mooney from Puck Daddy explains, Morrow also could have gone to the Boston Bruins. From Mooney:

Complicating that decision: the Boston Bruins reportedly had a deal on the table as well, meaning Morrow had to decide which Eastern Conference team he wanted to join as well. Considering he was leaving Dallas for what could be his last, best shot at the Stanley Cup, that meant deciding which club he thought gave him a better chance to win. That’s a tough call, even for the pundits.

It really was a tough call as it’s hard to see any other Eastern team beating Pittsburgh or Boston, but as Mooney notes the prospect of playing on a team with Crosby and Malkin may very well have been the deciding factor for Morrow who gives the Pens a slight edge right now.

The addition of Morrow also squashes the rumors Pittsburgh may acquire Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla. The Bruins will surely want to counter this move and The Hockey News’ Brian Costello believes Iginla could now be headed to New England as a result of the deal which would be a huge boost for a team two points back of Montreal for the division lead and seven points behind Pittsburgh for the conference lead.

There are 10 days remaining until the trade deadline and as recent years have shown, the action takes place mostly in the week ahead rather than on the day itself. There isn’t much time left for teams to decide whether they are buyers or sellers and with the standings so close, it is the long-term look of the team that will decide what some teams decide to do. Regardless of whether there are a plethora of trades or if big names are moved, the action has started. The past few years have been somewhat uneventful, but there are always surprises and there is more than enough time for more.

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