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Blackhawks add center depth by acquiring Brendan Morrison

Jan 27, 2012, 9:09 PM EDT

San Jose Sharks v Calgary Flames Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks are gearing up for a tough month by adding a little depth at center. GM Stan Bowman acquired veteran center Brendan Morrison from the Calgary Flames for defensemen Brian Connelly.

With Jonathan Toews and sometimes-center Patrick Sharp on the mend – not to mention Dave Bolland‘s frequent tendency to get hurt – it makes plenty of sense to add Morrison to the mix, especially at a minimal cost. It’s unclear if this is a sign that Toews might need more than the All-Star break to heal up, though.

My first instinct was to think that Morrison might help on the PK merely because of where he’d fit into the depth chart, but he certainly wasn’t piling up much shorthanded time in Calgary (less than nine minutes overall this season). He’s a decent faceoff guy (50.3 percent success rate) and scored 40+ points in each of the 2009-10 and 10-11 seasons.

It’s not a big move by any means, but I’d bet Bowman thinks of Morrison as another John Madden (although, again, Morrison doesn’t bring the same defensive game to the table). The Blackhawks can’t afford to go into February with a threadbare roster as they start a brutal eight-game road trip in Vancouver on Tuesday.

The best part for Chicago is that they have plenty of cap room left after having little breathing room the past two seasons. They’ll have a little under $13 million remaining under the ceiling even with Morrison in the fold.

Connelly is a 25-year-old minor league defenseman with some offensive skills – at least at the AHL level – so the Flames can say that they got younger. The real question is if they’ll make more veteran-for-prospect-type moves as the trade deadline approaches.

  1. taytay099 - Jan 27, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    A Vancouver fan favourite playing for the enemy.

  2. hasthevoice - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Morrison goes from one vaunted rival of the Canucks to an even bigger one!
    I’m sure in his wildest dreams he could have never imagined this. I think Vancouver wishes they would have never let him go…

    • velocirapist - Jan 28, 2012 at 1:30 PM

      Not so much considering where he fell on the depth chart last season behind Henrik, Kesler, and Malhotra. He is not a checking center, nor does he have much playoff experience.

      While I love love love the guy, this is a really raw deal for him. I remember at the start of last year he was thinking about retiring so he wouldn’t have to uproot his family again. Now he has to move again and probably will play a lesser role. At least he’ll see the playoffs this way though.

  3. rwmilli - Jan 27, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Um I’d go as far to say him being in Calgary was wayyyy worse than Chicago…Chicago wasn’t even on the radar for rivalries while he served under the nucks, sorry guys :) and yea hawks fans we understand your teams somewhat relevant again…

    • comeonnowguys - Jan 28, 2012 at 7:43 PM

      Yeah, too bad they’re not a perennial Cup winner like the Canucks.

  4. elvispocomo - Jan 27, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    He’s a minimal help to either team, regardless of enemy or not. They might get some clutch points from him here and there, but they’ll have trouble keeping him healthy, just like the rest mentioned above. Good depth guy but not much more than that.

  5. bigtganks - Jan 28, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    At least Boston didn’t acquire him.

  6. yesfan1971 - Jan 28, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    Ummmm…2 things, Mr O’Brien. First, Toews is on the trip and will likely play on Tuesday. Second, it’s a NINE game trip, not 8.

  7. yesfan1971 - Jan 28, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    and yes, they’ll trade another prospect. Sean Lalonde will be next to go. Neither he nor connelly would’ve seen icetime here in Chicago.

  8. babar61 - Jan 28, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    Gross, hate to see Morrison as a blackhawk…

  9. kibbee2545 - Jan 28, 2012 at 10:32 PM

    Hawks will still have problems making the finals Detroit is on a roll

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