I'm a bit puzzled by this. Morrow is a great leader, don't get me wrong, but where does he fit in? The Blues have quite a bit of depth up front and have a lot of young guys poised to break through and make the team or be AHL call ups this year.
If Morrow is willing to sit in the press box some nights and be a locker room presence, then by all means, let's do it. You can never have enough depth. But it just makes me scratch my head the Blues are openly pursuing him, unless Army just feels like the locker room needs another veteran presence.
The Blues have spoken with free-agent forward Brenden Morrow about joining the team and are awaiting his answer.
Morrow, 34, finished the 2012-13 season with Pittsburgh but is looking for a new team and league sources say the Blues are on his short list.
Josh Rimer, the host of NiteCap on www.nextsportstar.com
, was the first to report that the club and Morrow were in discussions, tweeting Saturday that the "Blues are the team that made Brenden Morrow the offer he is contemplating."
Morrow visited one "unnamed" suitor on Thursday, he told TSN's Pierre LeBrun. A source could not confirm whether Morrow's stop was in St. Louis. But even if it was, it may not be his only stop.
"I'm thinking about another team visit as well," Morrow told LeBrun. "I've actually got a few offers that I'm mulling over at the moment. It's a tough marketplace, they're not the biggest offers or what I had been hoping for, but at this point I just want to get playing again. So I'm mulling over these offers."
The Blues wouldn't be able to offer Morrow much money. They are approximately $1.8 million below the NHL's 2013-14 salary cap of $64.3 million, according to capgeek.com.
Morrow recently completed a six-year, $24.6 million contract, which he signed with Dallas and finished with Pittsburgh after a trade last spring. He made $4.1 million last season.
“There’s a lot that goes into it, and money is a part of it,” Morrow told Mike Heika in the Dallas Morning News last week. “But, at the same time, I want to be on a team where I think I can win, where I think I can contribute to a winner. I don’t have a lot of years left, so I’d love to get a couple of runs in there.”
The Blues, whom The Hockey News has chosen as its pick to win the Stanley Cup, fit that description. But why would the club be interested in Morrow and where would he fit in?
There are multiple connections between the free-agent forward and the Blues. General manager Doug Armstrong, head coach Ken Hitchcock and newly named vice president of business operations Brett Hull were all associated with Morrow in Dallas. Hull and Morrow are very close friends.
Morrow, who has played 850 NHL games, is considered by many to be a "warrior-type" player. And even though Armstrong has said that the Blues no longer have a need for an aging veteran to help monitor a somewhat young roster, it's believed that the club would welcome Morrow's influence in the locker room. He was the Stars' captain from 2006 until last season's trade.
What does Morrow have left on the ice? Despite neck and back injuries in Dallas, he went to Pittsburgh and produced 14 points (6, goals, 8 assists) in 15 regular-season games with the Penguins. He struggled during the playoffs with four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in 14 games, but was battling a knee-cap injury.
Do the Blues have room?
The club made its first round of cuts following Saturday's 3-2 overtime win over Dallas. The team is off Sunday and will resume training camp Monday with practice group that includes 18 forwards. Fourteen of those are either on one-way NHL contracts, or in the case of Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko, they're locks to make the opening-day lineup.
At this point in Morrow's career, he is a third- or fourth-line forward who might even need some days off. The Blues' top-nine appears to be set and there's an abundance of fourth-line players on the roster.
Vladimir Sobotka may be relegated to fourth-line duty at the start of the season. The club signed free-agent center Max Lapierre to a two-year contract this offseason. And meanwhile, the "CPR" line of Adam Cracknell, Chris Porter and Ryan Reaves are all returning. Cracknell and Porter, in fact, were both re-signed to one-way NHL contracts.
Hitchcock, however, hinted at not being entirely happy with the performance of the fourth-liners thus far in training camp.
“I would like to see more competition for role-playing spots and that’s what we’re going to find out,” he said. “I feel like there’s a little bit of separation here and I’d like to see more competition. So we’re going to see in the next couple of games what that competition gets to.”
The addition of Morrow would bump one of those fourth-line players off the roster. The Blues could make a trade or be forced to pay an NHL salary to a player assigned to their American Hockey League affiliate in Chicago.
The Blues don't need to make that decision yet. For now, they're waiting for Morrow to make his decision.
“I feel I’ll play somewhere this season at some time, I'm confident in that," Morrow told the Dallas Morning News. "But I want it to be the right fit, where I can possibly be there for a little longer time, and where I feel confident I can help. That’s what I’m looking for.”