Seemingly out of nowhere on Friday night, the Blackhawks pulled off a trade to address one of the couple of needs that they have heading out of the All Star break next week.
Stan Bowman swung a deal with the Calgary Flames to acquire a forward. And even though it might not be the Calgary forward that many Blackhawks fans might have been hoping for, as unrealistic as that actually is, Bowman made a good move in dealing for center Brendan Morrison.
If Morrison’s name rings a bell, it’s because he and the Hawks have a bit of recent history. Last season, he accused the Blackhawks of taunting him while he was coming off the ice, but it appears to be a dead issue now as the Hawks acquired Morrison for Rockford defenseman Brian Connelly.
Connelly surely has skill, as one of the better defenseman in the AHL, but had little room to progress in Chicago. He should be able to get closer to reaching the NHL level with Calgary.
After observing on Twitter and listening to some opinion, it’s clear that not many Blackhawks fans are too overwhelmed with this deal. Nor should they be. But it is absolutely a good move that Bowman made on Friday night, to get the Hawks some added depth down the middle.
It’s obvious by now that the Hawks really only need two things before the trade deadline: depth at center and a defenseman for the second pairing. This trade addresses one of those needs.
The Blackhawks are unlikely to find a second line center on the market before the deadline that would actually be an asset on that unit, save someone like a Derek Roy. Moreover, I’d say they are even less likely to muster up the pieces to deal for a second line center and a defenseman for the second pairing given how much it would take to acquire both.
Quite honestly, I think the Blackhawks could roll with the four they’ve been using in the middle (Jonathan Toews, Dave Bolland, Marcus Kruger, Jamal Mayers) and be successful. But as the recent injuries to Toews and Kruger show us, they need depth. Morrison adds that, and maybe a little more.
Morrison has plenty of experience, at 36 years old, and he’s played alongside some of the better offensive players in the game, including Jarome Iginla. His point totals for the season aren’t impressive, but he could still be helpful in the top six. Even if the Hawks get a minimal return on him, they gave up very, very little to acquire him.
Overall, I like the move. We’ll obviously have to wait a bit to see how Morrison pans out, but he has the chops to be a contributor in the lineup, can play in all phases of the game, and brings that experience to the locker room. It’s a fine move by Stan Bowman, and certainly isn’t the last one he’ll make as the deadline draws closer.