NHL Trade Analysis: Chicago Blackhawks Pick Up Calgary Center Brendan Morrison

Jon FromiSenior Analyst IJanuary 27, 2012

Chicago obtained Calgary center Brendan Morrison Friday night.
Chicago obtained Calgary center Brendan Morrison Friday night.Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks have made the first attempt to bolster their situation at center, striking a deal with the Calgary Flames for Brendan Morrison.

'Hawks GM Stan Bowman is hoping that the oft-injured Morrison has something to offer the Blackhawks by way of depth. To that end, Bowman sent the Flames defenseman Brian Connelly from the AHL's Rockford Ice Hogs.

This is far from a major deal, but one that offered a potential veteran presence for a minimum risk. Here's how the deal shakes out:

Chicago receives: Morrison, 36, who has played just 28 games so far this season. When healthy, Morrison is a distributor capable of putting up 30-plus assists as he has in the last two seasons with Calgary and Washington.

Morrison has seldom been healthy since injuring his left knee last spring. He had knee problems early this season and underwent surgery in November.  He's been on injured reserve twice this season and just returned to action this week from an upper body injury.

Morrison has four goals and seven assists and has a 50.3 faceoff percentage. At best, he can improve Chicago's depth and playoff experience, help out at the dot and maybe provide some mentoring to Marcus Kruger.

Calgary receives: Connelly, 25, a 5'10", 180-pound offensive defenseman who was selected to his second straight AHL All-Star game while in Rockford.


The price for Morrison was AHL defenseman Brian Connelly.
The price for Morrison was AHL defenseman Brian Connelly.Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Connelly had five goals and 31 assists for the Ice Hogs in 44 games. He has been among the league leaders in points from the blue line for each of the last two seasons.

Connelly was facing a tough road to Chicago, especially with the development of Nick Leddy. He is an undersized defender who didn't seem to have a long-term place in the 'Hawks organization. Perhaps the Flames are a better fit for a player with his skills.

Bowman had pulled off a low-risk move with the potential to help the team over the next few months. Morrison's health is a constant issue at this point of his career, but he was obtained for a player not considered a top prospect who didn't figure in Chicago's plans.

This isn't the top-six forward for whom the 'Hawks will still be searching in the coming weeks. However, the price was right to take a chance on Morrison. Bowman also hinted that Jonathan Toews would be ready to join the team after the All-Star break, so Morrison could begin providing some experience to the lower lines.