34-year-old left winger Brenden Morrow knows his time in the National Hockey League is running out, but his goal remains the same since being drafted 25th overall by the Dallas Stars in 1997: hoisting the elusive Stanley Cup.
After entering the league in 1999, Morrow spent thirteen consecutive seasons in the Lone Star State. His only Stanley Cup Finals appearance was in his rookie year, but came up short against the New Jersey Devils. The Carlyle, Saskatchewan native then wore the “C” for the Stars from 2007-2013.
At the trade deadline in the lockout-shortened season of 2013, Dallas was in the process of rebuilding their roster. With little hope of making the postseason, General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk made the decision to trade the veteran forward in the final year of his six-year contract to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Morrow waived his no-trade clause simply because he wanted a chance to accomplish his lifelong dream.
In Pittsburgh, he put up 14 points in 15 regular season games. When the playoffs rolled around, however, he registered only four points in 14 games. The Penguins were swept in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Boston Bruins. Morrow was now a free agent.
Rumors swirled throughout the offseason involving the experienced winger, but nothing came to fruition. Morrow’s name was being thrown around with multiple suitors. Who would eventually sign him? The answer to that question came Monday, when Morrow signed a one-year deal with the St. Louis Blues worth $1.5 million.
Why did he choose St. Louis? This is what Morrow had to say about his decision to join the Blues:
“I wanted to be on a contender for sure…the Blues have been knocking on the door. I think they’re a team that can push through it and I want to be a part of that,” Morrow said. “It’s good to be on (the Blues side) instead of having to compete against them every night.”
Morrow is also familiar with the Blues management from his days in Dallas, being coached by Ken Hitchcock and having Doug Armstrong as his General Manager. He also has a good relationship with Brett Hull, the Blues new executive Vice President. Despite all of this, Morrow will still have to earn his spot on this young St. Louis squad.
In Friday’s preseason game against the Wild, he was put on the second line with Derek Roy and Chris Stewart. Stewart has already preached about Morrow’s vision, and “loves” playing with him. Although he did not register a point in the game, Morrow immediately made an impact on his new team.
Morrow is not a dangler like Pavel Datsyuk or a sniper like Steven Stamkos, but he knows how to play the game the right way. Morrow is always in the right place at the right time in all three zones. He isn’t afraid to take a hit to make a play, which fits in to the hard-nosed style the Blues are known for. Morrow possesses an insane amount of intelligence on the ice and uses this to make everything easier for his teammates.
The only thing that could prevent him from doing that is if he suffers injury problems that have limited his performance previously in his career. Morrow has battled neck, and more recently knee injuries, but he says his body feels good and is ready for the upcoming season.
It doesn’t matter how old he is, Brenden Morrow is going to compete night after night and is motivated by the opportunity he has to win in St. Louis. He plays a tight-checking game but knows how to provide offense, something the Blues desperately need in their lineup in order to compete.
It seems to be all systems go for Brenden Morrow, and it will be exciting to see if he can be a key contributor for the Blues and help them capture their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
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