During the playoffs former Stars Captain Brenden Morrow was mostly invisible, but since then we have found out why. A split knee cap has turned out to be a major factor in Morrow’s lack of production.
Given his playoff performance, and the Pittsburgh Penguins lack of cap space it has been all but a given that Morrow would find a new home, but if you take a step back you may find that there is still hope that the Penguins could resign Morrow.
There is no place for Morrow on the top two lines, but with the departure of Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy there are gaping holes on the third line which would be a perfect fit. A full season to acclimate would help establish chemistry and allow him to take a Bill Guerin type leadership role on the team, which given their moments of mental collapse in the last two postseasons it is obvious that someone needs to help keep emotions in check.
Financially we could also use Guerin as an example. Following the Stanley Cup win in 2009 Guerin signed a 1 year, 2 million dollar contract. Guerin was established as a Sidney Crosby linemate, vocal leader, and important piece to the Penguins puzzle. Morrow is a known commodity in the league, but does not hold near the value of Guerin. It would not be unfathomable to think that the Penguins could sign Morrow at around 1 mil – 1.5 mil a year, which is around the same salary as Tanner Glass who had two points all of last season. Not that I’m suggesting that they get rid of Glass………wait, yes I am.
There is a major drop off in the quality of winger from the 2nd line to the 3rd line. Currently the candidates for the 3rd line wing are Tanner Glass, Jussi Jokinen, and Dustin Jeffrey (RFA). Glass is an overpaid 4th liner, Jokinen is better as a Center, and Jeffrey is a borderline 3rd/4th liner. There are variables such as Beau Bennett playing on the 3rd line with Jokinen playing alongside Geno Malkin, but that still leaves a hole to be filled.
Morrow was made out to be as the least valuable of the 3 Penguins rentals, but given the history of Guerin, Gary Roberts, Mark Recchi type players, Morrow could turn out to be the most important.
Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero has a lot of work to do to solidify his team while balancing the salary cap, but the NHL’s Executive of the Year has earned our trust.
It will be fun to see what he does.