The Chicago Blackhawks announced Friday night they have acquired center Brendan Morrison from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman prospect Brian Connelly of the Rockford IceHogs.
The second round draft pick — 39th overall — of the New Jersey Devils in 2002, Morrison has tallied over 600 points in 16 seasons — scoring at least 40 in each of his last two.
“We like what [Morrison] can bring to the table,” Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said, “Now we have another established legitimate center.”
A gritty forward, Morrison has been plagued with injury this season. Knee surgery in the offseason left him unable to play in Calgary’s first four games, and he has been on the Injured Reserve twice since— once again for his knee, and once with an upper body injury.
“I know it’s fine,” Morrison told the media about his knee troubles, “ It’s solid, it’s strong.” Morrison admitted he came back from his surgery a little early, but that his skating is getting back to where it needs to be.
Although Morrison doesn’t quite fit the profile of the type of second line center the Hawks were looking for — speed and foresight to keep up with the core players — he does add depth to a roster that lacks it.
Morrison also takes up little cap space, according to CapGeek.com the trade still gives the Blackhawks upwards of five million dollars to work with, a treat since Chicago’s front office will be no doubt looking to add another defenseman before the trade deadline.
In Brian Connelly the Hawks lose a defenseman almost three years in the making. Since signing Connelly to the Rockford IceHogs in June, 2009 the former Colorado College star became Rockford’s all-time assists leader (105), ranks first in IceHog points by a defenseman (126), and has appeared in two AHL All-Star games.
While Rockford loses a tenured player, they can expect to seeing another familiar face soon as this trade will most likely have the Hawks sending down one of their five rookies on the current roster to make room for Morrison.
The Blackhawks play next in Vancouver on January 31st.