Blackhawks Trade Impact: Where Does Brendan Morrison Fit?

On Friday night, the Blackhawks acquired a veteran center.

No, Brendan Morrison isn’t going to step in and become the 60-point second center that fans were craving, but the ripple effect on the rest of the roster could prove to be a positive.

After the trade, GM Stan Bowman said he was excited to have “another established, legitimate center” on the roster. Chicago’s depth is clearly improved with this deal, and Brian Connelly was never going to see the NHL as a member of the Blackhawks organization. But where does a guy averaging under 14 minutes a night find himself on the Hawks’ depth chart?

Since Patrick Sharp went down, the Blackhawks have been living with Dave Bolland as the center on the second line. In the eight games since Sharp left the lineup, Bolland has found his offensive game, scoring six goals and adding three assists while winning 52.1 percent of his faceoffs.

Morrison, 36, is also winning better than 50 percent of his faceoffs this season and is a sound defensive center who has some offensive upside despite missing the beginning of the season because of a torn ACL from last year.

Obviously Marcus Kruger and Jamal Mayers have also seen extensive time at center this year. Mayers has been outstanding as a fourth line center, winning 55.5 percent of his faceoffs. Kruger, on the other hand, has won 45.7 percent of his faceoffs this season. Either one could move to a wing position, but faceoff numbers would indicate that Mayers should stick as a center if the choice is between them.

When Sharp returns from injury, we might see one of two plans take shape.

Option One: Sharp returns skating opposite Marian Hossa with Bolland staying put as the second line center. Morrison could move into the third center position, with Kruger skating as a bottom-six wing and Bryan Bickell finding somewhere else to play hockey.

Option Two: Sharp returns and moves back to center (where he should have been since October) with Hossa and someone from the current roster skating at the left wing. Bolland returns to the third line, and Morrison and Mayers skate together on the fourth line. Kruger is back at a wing, and Bickell is still going away.

15 thoughts on “Blackhawks Trade Impact: Where Does Brendan Morrison Fit?

  1. I think this move suggests that Bollad is going to see significant time at 2C, till the trade deadline at least. If Morrison stays heathly and can play the checking center roll, Krugar can still be an option if anyone gets hurt. Plus we can take Krugars defensive up side on the 3 line without his faceoff downside. This move also leaves money for a 3 dmen too. Not the blockbuster trade many of us Blackhawk fans hoped for, but we didnt give up much. It might be just enough.

    / Mayers/

    Leaving Shaw, Hayes and Frolik to move around, so Q dosen’t go crazy LOL.

    Could be real good. With 2 big ifs…
    If Bolly can play 2c and if Morrison can stay healthy.

    Time will tell. It was a cheep chance with a few games to try it out. Good move I think.

  2. Brendan Morrison? Really? Good Lord. What’s that line from ‘Planes, Trains & Automobiles’?

    “You’re going the wrong way!!!”

  3. The ONLY WAY this trade makes sense is if they realize Bolland is their #2 guy, and Morrison takes the #3 spot, for the rest of this season, until Kruger is ready next year. You and I discussed this the other day.

    Mayers isn’t moving anywhere…he has been a rock on the 4th line. And Bolly been great on the 2nd line…getting Morrison, who is an excellent defensive centre, secures that 3rd line for us, and allows Bolland to move without further hurting our fragile defence.

    IF Bowman gets a true top 4 DMan, and soon, then this trade will start to make a lot more sense. But I get the sense that Bolland has become our true #2 Centre and next year Kruger will be our #3…so Morrison for this time frame and price makes some sense.

  4. I just hope this isn’t another Montador situation… I don’t like that he began the year banged up, but maybe that’s because I’ve watched the Bears with Tinoisamoa. Like Brad Stevenson, I think it’s best if Bolland becomes #2 C. If he can keep up what he started in Toews’ absence – 85% at the dot! – it could indeed be an improvement. I also agree with Brad Beatty: anything that says bye-bye Brian is good.

  5. Could set the table for a Bolland trade? Probably not as the Hawks have brought in 3C depth near the deadline the last few years, but hey, you never know.

  6. the only way they trade Bollie now is if they are clearing Cap for a Suter or Parise name…. don’t see that happening- I agree w/ most – move Bollie to 2nd line and now you have Morrison and Kruger on checking line.

    Which allows us to go after a top 4 defender-
    What about Schenn or Franson from Leafs for Pirri (Toronto boy) and pick or Smith/Bickell??? While I like Pirri (scorer/shooter) he has no physical play-which Hawks need!

  7. the only way they trade Bolland now is if they are clearing Cap for a Suter or Parise type name…. don’t see that happening- I agree w/ most – move Bollie to 2nd line and now you have Morrison and Kruger on checking line.

    Which allows us to go after a top 4 defender-
    What about Schenn or Franson from Leafs for Pirri (Toronto boy) and pick or Smith/Bickell??? While I like Pirri (scorer/shooter) he has no physical play-which Hawks need!

  8. Franson seems like it would be a great pick up. Young, 6’5, 30pts a year, avg 16min ice time. He could put on 20 pounds though.

    Does anyone think he would be availible?

  9. re: Toronto d-men – Schenn is a no-way imo… four more years at $3.6M would likely mean both Hjalmarsson & Montador would have to go before next season, and that’s just not happening. Franson’s intriguing w/ him becoming a RFA this summer, but it sounds like the Leafs have their eyes on bigger deals than the Hawks would be included in, and Franson might be in th mix on that. Let’s all keep in mind, too, that the Hawks may have dealt Connelly, but they still have pretty good organizational depth to work with & Olsen could be better than Franson or Schenn in 3 years.

  10. What about trading for Edmonton defender Smid? He seemed pretty good when he played us, he has good size, he’s 25 and signed a two year deal this past summer for 4.5 million. Maybe we could get him for a combination of draft picks and prospects. Tab any thoughts on that?

  11. I’ll say this…if Olsen winds up better than Schenn in three years then Schenn screwed up real bad along the way.

  12. Tab, I don’t see the problem w/ the 3.6 Mill for Schenn…

    Hawks strength will be “cheap young Forwards” coming up… the only question will be how long to develop and contribute??? Looks like 2 are ready now- Hayes -Shaw!

    Saad and Mcneil continue to tear it up in Juniors!

  13. I don’t see a problem w/ Schenn’s cap number, wall. My problem is with four more years of the contract… while Montador & Hjalmarsson are here already & we have some good prospects working their way up. I see little reason to lock up the entire blue line for 2-4 more years, especially when Schenn hasn’t won anybody over in Toronto the last couple years.

  14. Hey Tab? Any chance Tampa would want to unload Pavel Kubina? As an older D-Man, I think he’s the kind of guy that might go for a Bickell/Frolik package. Do you think he might be a good fill in at the 2nd line with Hammer? He has an expiring contract too.

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