Sunday, March 24, 2013

Choosy Morrows Choose Pittsburgh: Penguins acquire Brenden Morrow from Dallas for Joe Morrow

By Finesse

Tremendous drama just unfolded on Twitter, but all is well that ends well.  The Pens acquired winger Brenden Morrow and a 3rd round pick from Dallas in exchange for defensive prospect Joe Morrow and a 5th round pick.

First: The future is bright.  Maybe B. Morrow can't carry a line like he once could, but he won't have to.  Assuming he skates with Malkin and Neal -- and you don't trade for another team's captain with a track record like B. Morrow's and not give him every opportunity to play with Geno -- all he will have to do is hammer defensemen and jar pucks loose for Malkin to collect and feed to James Neal.  Basically he will have to fill the exact same role Kunitz filled on that line last year when it was supposedly "untouchable."  For a team that showed a tendency to unwind emotionally last year, bringing in a 34-year old veteran like B. Morrow, who has been the Stars' captain for several years, is nothing short of huge.

Second: The drama on Twitter was riveting.  Early reports said the Pens had B. Morrow.  Then it was reported that he still needed to waive his no-trade clause.  Then it was reported that Boston was involved as well.  Then it was reported that the Stars and Bruins also had a trade in place and it was entirely up to Morrow to decide.  Then Brenden texted someone that he would make his decision within 15 minutes.  Then he chose Pittsburgh.  As unprofessional as this entire exercise was, it was fascinating drama.  And remember, the Washington Capitals were heavily involved in the Bill Guerin trade rumors in 2009.  If they had gotten him instead of the Pens, it could have easily swung the 2009 playoffs.  The importance of keeping the Bruins from getting B. Morrow (if he's still good) cannot be overstated.  This is true regardless of whether Boston ends up with Iginla, because it's not certain that the Pens had a Plan B for a top-6 forward if it wasn't B. Morrow.

Third: It's impossible for us to shed any tears over losing Joe Morrow, a player with zero NHL experience.  We will be more honest with you than almost every other pundit offering an opinion on Joe Morrow: we've barely seen him play.  He may turn out to be fantastic or he may turn out to have been completely overhyped.  We don't know.  But we do know that the Penguins, and every team for that matter, have every incentive to artifically inflate perception of its own prospects to inflate their trade value.  Just because Rob Rossi was supposedly hearing that the Pens considered Joe Morrow their top prospect doesn't mean that was remotely true -- it means they wanted other teams to think the Pens considered Joe Morrow their top prospect.

Pictures like this make us feel a lot more comfortable trading him.
Fourth: This trade should not be considered in isolation.  Consider it another piece of the Jordan Staal trade.  Getting Brian Dumoulin and the 8th pick in the draft (Derrick Pouliot) likely made Joe Morrow expendable.  So the score right now for the 2013 Cup run is: Staal for Sutter AND Brenden Morrow.  That's going for it, and we love it.

Finally: As much as the Pens seem to have fleeced Joe Nieuwendyk and the Stars in the Goligoski-Neal trade, remember that B. Morrow had a no trade clause.  Nieuwendyk's options were very limited.  He got what he could for Brenden Morrow, and maybe Joe will be great.

There's nothing like the adrenaline rush when your team pulls the trigger on a major trade.  Unlimited cautious optimism.


  1. Does opting for Morrow instead of Iginla (besides just being a better fit, IMO) keep any doors open for more trades?

  2. Haha - to be fair to Joe, I think they made all the prospect do that pose that year.

    If we had to give up a d-prospect, which we would to get any piece of value, I'm fine with it being Morrow. He and Pouliot play much like Letang - they aren't going to shore up your defense. They'll be aggressive and push the play. He's struggled a lot in WBS this year - because he takes LOTS of chances. They won't lose Letang, regardless of how much it costs, and apparently prefer Pouliot (who's line in Portland this year btw is 9-36-45 with a +35 in 44 games). How many d-men of that variety can one team actually employ? Harrington and Maatta are more of the Suter-type d-men, who can skate but be that steady presence next to a guy like Pouliot or Letang. I'd have had a bigger issue losing one of them because of balance in the d-corps, however good Joe M becomes.

    The Pens also made it clear that they felt little Sunshine could play on the 3rd line - and given what I've seen of his game away from the puck, I have to say I agree. He will be able to play on his natural right side and make the 3rd line a genuine threat to pot one regularly. And if they insist on playing TK - he can pot a goal once a month on the 4th line, which is more than they have going on now.

    Lots of people were looking for that one piece that could allow everyone to slot in the perfect role for them. This deal makes as much sense as any in that respect. In any case - you picked up a really motivated vet who has a history of playing big on a big stage, like he did in Vancouver.

    And consider - we could possibly meet Montreal on Tuesday with the team that plays tonight - plus Geno, Tanger, and Morrow.

    Let's go Pens!

    1. It's pretty incredible to think that the team on an 11 game win streak is about to bring back the reigning MVP, a favorite for the Norris, and debut another team's captain. Pretty impressive.

      It's obviously too soon to know whether the trade works out, but I love the mentality. This is a team that can win now. Brenden makes that more likely this season than Joe.

  3. I've seen Joe play a number of times and I thought he was top 2 of our D prospects. He has great vision, hockey sense, speed, skill, strength and he seems to be a very humble guy. I personally don't like the trade, only because of what I believe is Joe's potential and I'd rather get something more long term back. Don't get me wrong, I do think its gonna work for Pittsburgh and its actually a good trade, but I just didn't want to trade Morrow.

    Brenden Morrow is the type of guy that the Pens need on the second line. He also has what every team wants in the locker room. If the Pens make a move for a big physical Dman, then this may be an even better trade.

    1. I wasn't knocking Joe M, if that's how it sounded. Nor do I think a player who struggles for his first year in the minors is destined to mediocre. I think it's a matter of giving to get.

      That said, Josh Yohe did tweet that he has had "numerous people in the Pens organization say that they thought Pouliot and Maatta would be better pros" than Morrow. So I think it's clear that they prefer Pouloit as their up and coming offensive d-man. Only time will tell who was right.

      And - heck - if a Cup comes out of this year, I don't care who you had to give up to get it.