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Morrow, Murray acquisitions not about ‘analytics’ for Shero

Mar 25, 2013, 3:19 PM EDT

Ray Shero Getty Images

Last week, it was revealed that the Pittsburgh Penguins relied heavily on analytics in deciding to acquire forward James Neal in a trade two years ago.

Given the dividends the trade has paid — Neal is currently fifth in the NHL with 17 goals — the Pens were obviously pleased with what their proprietary numbers told them.

So pleased were that they director of player personnel Dan MacKinnon recently said, “I don’t think we’ve made an impact decision since then without consulting the analytics.”

But general manager Ray Shero didn’t read off a bunch of stats today when asked about his two most recent acquisitions, forward Brenden Morrow from Dallas and defenseman Douglas Murray from San Jose.

“Analytics doesn’t come in to this for me,” said Shero, per Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “You can’t measure the heart, the character, the fit on your team you’re looking for.”

Neither trade has been particularly well-received by the burgeoning advanced statistics community. Morrow and Murray are both veterans with plenty of postseason experience, but both have seen their roles reduced in recent seasons.

Can Morrow rediscover the form that made him one of Team Canada’s unsung heroes at the 2010 Olympics?

Can Murray provide the big, physical presence Shero says he was looking for?

Or, should Shero have checked the numbers first?

  1. richie500 - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    They are depth pick-ups, they don’t need to carry the team! I love the moves.

  2. hosewater2 - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Of course you’re going to say that when the advanced stats aren’t favorable to your acquisitions. I do like both trades though. Seems like Detroit should have made that deal for Murray.

  3. cantstopme1006 - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    These 2 moves give the Pens EXACTLY what they needed: A gritty, tough, front of the net winger for Geno (assuming he goes to the second line). A big, strong, stay at home defenseman to clear out the crease and lay down the hammer. As well as adding depth all the way around. I love these moves!

    In Ray We Trust

  4. jjregan21 - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    I think after last seasons’ first round meltdown with the Flyers, some veteran presence and leadership is exactly what the Pens need to keep them from going into a tailspin again

    • supr49er - Mar 25, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      Murray is as tough as they come. I’ll miss him, you’ll see some huge hits.

  5. stakex - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    The thing is, these trades certainly won’t hurt the Pens, at least in the near term. At the same time, I’m not sure how much better the Pens are after them either. At the end of the day both of these guys are middle of the pack, over the hill players. Neither one is likely to have much of an impact in a good or bad way.

    • djamesbart - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      Right. Morrow wore the C because he was a “middle of the pack, over the hill, no impact player.”

      Impact is felt in many ways. Not just speed, points or minutes.

      No one is saying these guys are superstars. But there is no question they make the Pens better today.

  6. hockeywithdrawal - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    There’s a “burgeoning advanced statistics community”?

    I will add this – these two moves add a lot more to this year’s cup run than Joe Morrow or any of the draft picks do. I know that’s obvious, but necessary to point out. Also, we didn’t hurt the club long term, with the defensive prospects still available and given that we’ve got a lot of D-men that can move the puck now (and hopefully for a long time to come). Looking forward to seeing both men in action, hopefully with Letang and Malkin back as well.

  7. steelpenbucs87 - Mar 25, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    FWIW – Neal has 17 goals this year.

    I know you guys churn out a lot of these posts especially on busier news days so I’ll spare you some sort of sarcastic remark about accuracy or professionalism

  8. thehighcountrybear - Mar 25, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    I don’t know…?

    Would you buy real estate from the guy in that picture? Imitation brick siding or discount shag carpet yes, ocean front property in Arizona, no?

  9. csilojohnson - Mar 25, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Should the writer of this story at least listened to the press conference with Shero saying they always factor analytics into their desisions? Just not only based on such numbers…. Come on whoever wrote this.. Waste of time..totally irrelevant..

  10. modellforprez - Mar 25, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    forget the stats community. shero is totally right. heart charachter you cannot measure a guys heart and will to win in sports especially pucks n sticks those dudes have something else in them especially players like 87 71 58 29 44 our core knows whatbit takes and adding these vets like he did 4 yrs ago with guerin and gillsy and scary gary roberts. take these two new aquisitions ok they both spent their whole careers with stars and sharks and both played lots of playoff puck with no cup now you come to a stacked team cruising through the NHL regular season and they probably cant wait to lace em up in this shortened season and get to the cup finals and win one. i say good ray but shhh like talbot and dont stop there get more. i hear iginla is being shopped

  11. whatthepuck2012 - Mar 25, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    34 is over the hill?

  12. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Here is the thing stakes. You’re completely wrong.These 2 additions will add more depth. A lot of the returning Pens have to deal with last year’s early exit. With these 2 guys (and maybe more to come) the Pens have a completely different look than last year. They will deflect attention away from those returning Pens. These are awesome moves from Shero. The average knowledgeable fan like you can’t see the philosophy behind these moves.

  13. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 25, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Here is the thing stakex. You’re completely wrong.These 2 additions will add more depth. A lot of the returning Pens have to deal with last year’s early exit. With these 2 guys (and maybe more to come) the Pens have a completely different look than last year. They will deflect attention away from those returning Pens. These are awesome moves from Shero. The average knowledgeable fan like you can’t see the philosophy behind these moves.

  14. steelers88 - Mar 26, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    These guys are role players they aren’t being asked to carry the team. They’re just being asked to help the team win and just play the way they play.

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