The Hawks add depth with center Brendan Morrison.

The Hawks add depth with center Brendan Morrison.

The Chicago Blackhawks acquired a seasoned, tested, and versatile center today, when they traded minor-league defenseman Brian Connelly in exchange for Brendan Morrison of the Calgary Flames. A 14 year NHL veteran, Morrison seems like he just might be a pretty good fit. He is a top 6 guy, logs a good deal of PK and PP time, and is a sound 2-way player. Not a goal scorer, rather a gritty, and composed player who will make the jobs of those around him a little easier, while still adding a nice amount of offensive pressure.

This move was simple and sweet. The Hawks did not lose much in return, gained a lot, and still have options open to them. However, don't expect this to fix everything. Yes, a 2nd-line center was maybe the largest missing piece this year so far, but we will just have to wait and see what kind of impact this really has.

“He’s got a lot of leadership,” he said. “He’s well-respected by his teammates and opponents. You can never have too many guys with good character in the locker room.”

“I think there are a lot of attributes Brendan brings to the table that we’ve been looking for,” said Bowman. “He’s a centerman and he’s got a long pedigree of being a good offensive performer. I think having that experience and that ability gives us a lot of options depending on where Joel wants to use him.”

What gets me a little excited about this move, is that it allows for the possibility of Bolland as the 2nd line center, although I predict that Morrison gets that job. This most likely means the end of Kruger, who will not get ice-time over Mayers in the 4th-line center role. I think Kruger did his best, and played hard, but I never saw him as a permanent fixture.

Lets welcome Morrison to the team. Is it weird that I feel like we got Ladd back?


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  • Good move by SB. Not sure how much he's got left, but he is a smart, cagey, feisty, two-way player. I have always liked him , even when he played for the Canucks. He can quarterback the PP from the point—at least that's what he did in Vancouver—and take key draws in the D zone because he's not bad there either.

    If he does get to quarterback the PP it could change things considerably. He's a pass first player and we won't have to endure anymore shin shots from the D man. I think he'll set up on the 2nd unit.

    I agree, he'll get a look at the 2nd line center slot but I think what you'll see is Kruger moved down to the fourth line and Mayers will go back to the wing.

    Good insurance/depth no matter how you look at it for a blow-out price too!

  • Yeah, but Mayers has done so well in that center role (winning more face-offs than Kruger). Then, who do you let go for Kruger playing? I know Fro gets his criticism, but I would much rather have him on the ice. Rather have Bruno, and Hayes. Nope, in my humble opinion, Kruger sits, but comes in every once and a while for rests, or injuries.

    Totally agree on what Morrison brings to the power-play. A subtle, but powerful move by SB. I too have always been a fan of Brendan.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    I like Kruger, and I think Q does too. He's an honest player that plays what I'd like to see more of—north/south. Yeah, he doesn't have a lot of upside on the offense just yet but he is not on my list of problem areas for the 'hawks.

    Maybe, BM will be the insurance forward and see only spot duty. I doubt it, but a possibility.

    I think we can assume that Bickell is done with the 'hawks now. On his way out of town. Smith is in Rockford again. Hayes will probably be sent back as soon as Sharp gets back on the ice. As for Frolik, well, you may be right there. I like him too, but he's not worth the 2.? M he's being paid.

    That's a tough call and there's only so many players you can have under contract including AHLers. SB must be close to the max with contracts, so, perhaps, something else is in the works.

  • In reply to fourfeather:

    So, Hayes is gone back to the hogs. Which means Kruger is staying.

  • On the surface, I like this trade. Both teams have potential upside, neither team has a guarantee their player works out. On a team that currently is icing several rookies, this seems like a great pickup of experience for the Hawks.

  • Like I said, I like Hayes over Kruger. I wouldn't have been so quick to relieve Hayes of his duties here. He offers more already than Kruger brings to the table and has much higher potential. Not sure I like this quick decision, especially given that the Hawks still had room on the active roster (gets him playing instead of sitting I suppose).

    With that said, I have been impressed with what Kruger has done this year. Way above my expectations.

  • In reply to Hostile Hawk:

    Hayes will be back as soon as the offload Bickell.

  • Perhaps to the detriment of this team, SB is establishing himself as a GM who is not going to go balls out on some blockbuster trade. I'm inclined to believe that if all it took to get Morrison was an AHL'er, he's probably not strong enough to be a legit second line center. But, I try to stay open minded enough to wait and see what actually happens. I do believe he will get his chance to try out for the job.

    SB is also establishing the type of player he wants to go after. Most all the veteran's he has brought in have, at one point in their careers, been lunch pail guys. Carcillo may have been a bit of a head case, but he was a hard working one at that. While I think there are probably some reasonable second pair D guys out there, I'm not sure there are guys who fit a vision SB has. I think he will still make an effort here, but I don't think he's going to use all of the cap space and I don't think he's going to give up a prospect for a rental guy.

    So, I guess I'm saying we end the season in outrage. Q won't get fired this season, and SB won't pull the trigger on some risky trade that looks good now but doesn't leave him feeling good about the future. Look on the bright side though, if the Hawks win another cup this year, it only guarantees that Q sticks around awhile longer. LOL

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    I agree, Vegas.

    I have to wonder who is actually making the decisions here. SB is an accountant not a player personnel guy. SBsr is whispering in his ear, me thinks, with Q probably making waves about what he really needs. SB is simply the messenger.

    I see the scenario as something like this:
    SBsr says you need someone with skill and speed
    Q says we need someone who knows how to use his stick
    SB says we need someone cheap.

    So what we end up with is a hybrid of all of these things. Another square peg for a round hole.

    So far, SB has shown a propensity for the aging, grizzled veteran either past their prime, or on the downslope of their careers and cheap to boot. None have really worked out.
    He hasn't had a lot of cash to work with but now he does, but I agree, I don't don't think he's going to spend it this year.

    On Q. He if manages to win the cup with this rag-tag group he deserves another contract extension.

    Big road trip ( 11% of the season) will play a key role in where they finish in the division. Hopefully a top four seed, but, in the end, given that the Preds, Blues, and Wings are right there, it's looking like a first round match-up is going to be tough no matter where they end up. Home ice is important because of Q and his match-up madness.
    I dunno …

  • Well, sixth or seventh seed may not be the worst thing in the world. It would not surprise me to see the fourth and fifth seeds wind up with better records then the second or third. If I have my choice, I take a healthy Hawks matchup in the first round with either the Nucks or the Sharks before I wish for a matchup with a central team.

    I think SB has done better then just be a bean counter and I think you are going to see more guys like him. The players loved Tallon, that is without question and Tallon took some real risks. But if the Hawks don't win the cup when they did, his legacy is probably 180 from where it is now. In a big picture, I believe SB has moved the ball forward without handcuffing himself capwise. Ultimately though, I think he must take a risk somewhere to make a serious cup run. I think it's debatable whether this is the year to really take that risk.

    Apparently, Toews and Sharp are both in tonight. This may be cynical, but I expect to see the Hawks frequently trying to score from the perimeter.

  • In reply to VegasHawksFan:

    Sharks and 'nucks, really! I don't want to see the Canucks again. I'd rather see them play the Wings or the Kings. Sharks would be ok too, as long as the 'hawks have home ice. Alas, it'll be what it will be and based on the way teams are playing in the WC it's going to be tough no matter who.

    SB, well, I don't think he's done all that well, but its easy to say in retrospect. I thought the summer signings were terrific at the time, now, not so much. He's basically pissed away the Campbell cap relief on Olesz et al. I don't see much forward mo, but the team is marginally better than last year and at season's end the new additions will be gone, as will Scott. So, if there's hockey next year, we get to have another free agent frenzy on July 1 as there's going to be plenty of cap space. That is if the new CBA is in order by then. Somehow I doubt it will be.

    I expect a north-south simple game tonight.

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