By: Adam Gretz
The Chicago Blackhawks added some center depth to their lineup on Friday evening by acquiring Brendan Morrison from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Brian Connelly.
Morrison, 36, has four goals and seven assists this season in 28 games with the Flames, and is playing on a one-year contract worth $1.25 million. The Blackhawks will be on the hook for a salary cap hit of about $354,000 for the remainder of the season, so it's a relatively cheap pick up, not only financially, but also in the sense that they didn't have to give up much in return.
Connelly, a 25-year-old defenseman that signed with the Blackhawks organization back in 2009 after playing his college hockey Colorado College, has spent his entire professional career playing for the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League scoring 21 goals to go with 105 assists. In 44 games this season he has five goals and 31 assists.
Morrison isn't going to provide much offense for the Blackhawks, but with players like Jonathan Toews and Dave Bolland logging the big minutes down the middle they only need some depth at the position. If nothing else, he gives Chicago another solid option in the faceoff dot as he's currently winning over 50 percent of his draws this season.
It is kind of interesting to see the Flames deal a veteran for a prospect that's already in his mid-20's when they're still in the playoff race, and just recently added Mike Cammalleri from Montreal. General manager Jay Feaster said it was mainly due to their projected lineup going forward, as well as Morrison's status as a free agent after this season.
“As we projected our line-up going forward we felt it was going to be difficult for us to find a spot for Brendan or get him significant ice-time,” said Feaster. "Given his pending UFA status and the fact that we were not going to re-sign him, we felt it important to try to move him for another asset. In Brian Connelly we obtain a 25 year old highly skilled AHL All-Star defenceman who is still a legitimate prospect. We are excited to have Brian in the organization.”
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