Brendan Morrison – Wanting MO’ from the Canucks

Published by Bill Kellett on Monday, September 20, 2010 — View Comments

Brendan Morrison with the Vancouver Canucks on...

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If you believe many of the hockey publications out there, the Vancouver Canucks are a heavy favourite this year to go all the way. The team is deeper than it’s ever been and the euphoria in this city for the Canucks to start playing has never been greater.

So it is curious that we find out the Canucks have gone back to the future in inviting former first line center Brendan Morrison to training camp. On the surface it would appear this is nothing more than a courtesy gesture. The team has relatively few spots available, and have loads of forwards vying for those few spots, including another training camp invitee Peter Schaefer.

This question is why Morrison, who apparently had 3 other offers from teams would turn them down to come to a team on a tryout? Has he been promised more than they are letting on?

For the sake of argument let’s say this is the case, where would Morrison fit in? Fourth line center? He would be very effective in that role, but with the teams current cap concerns to make it work Brendan would have to sign for around 500k just to fit in. The Canucks have an abundance at center with Manny Malhotra, Cody Hodgson, Joel Perrault and others, and every one of these guys could play significant minutes on the bottom two lines. With that in mind, is it still wise to consider Morrison as a viable option?

I think it is.

Morrison brings experience and familiarity, and also had a very impressive face-off percentage last season in a limited role in Washington. The key for any 4th line center is winning key draws, something Morrison has shown time and again he is capable of.

Hodgson is inexperienced and is too good a player (or so we are told) to be toiling on the 4th line, it would not help his development one iota. He’d be better served playing big minutes in Manitoba rather than a few minutes here on a fourth line.

Joel Perrault is a good depth guy and fill in in case of injury, but he has been for the most part a career minor leaguer and has not displayed the required resiliency to stick full time with an NHL club.

Ryan Johnson’s shot blocking is gone, and Kyle Wellwood’s sometimes skill is gone, so we are let with few options. Morrison could bring into play consistency, face-off skill and the potential for potting some goals. He has also had time playing point on the PP, all things which make Brendan Morrison a very viable option for this team. It remains to be seen if Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault see  the same thing, but one thing is for sure, this team is very deep in young prospects and the future looks very promising. I just hope they are not too high on they young guys who need more seasoning and recognize there is a quality veteran who would like one more shot at glory. Brendan Morrison would look good holding that Cup at the end of the year.