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NHL Rumors: Hurricanes could be interested in Brenden Morrow

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer

Should Brenden Morrow be a free agent target for the Carolina Hurricanes? (USATSI)
Should Brenden Morrow be a free-agent target for the Carolina Hurricanes? (USATSI)

More NHL offseason: Rumors | Top 50 Free Agents | Buyout Tracker | Trade Tracker

After making a couple of big moves last summer -- trading for Jordan Staal, signing Alex Semin -- the Carolina Hurricanes have been rather quiet this offseason. They were mentioned as a possible landing spot for Jaromir Jagr, but other than that there hasn't been much going on.

Two names that have recently surfaced on their radar are veteran free agents Brenden Morrow and Ron Hainsey.

Morrow's agent, Brad Devine, confirmed to Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer that he has previously been in contact with the Hurricanes this offseason and expects to speak again at some point.

Morrow, 34, spent his entire career with the Dallas Stars until he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins just before the trade deadline this past season in exchange for defense prospect Joe Morrow (no relation). He was supposed to give the Penguins a strong veteran presence and physical, power forward but the move never seemed to work out.

He struggled for most of his Pittsburgh tenure and by the time the playoffs rolled around he started to spend a lot of time skating on the Penguins' third and fourth lines. He was once one of the better power forwards in the league, but age and his physical style of play seemed to have really taken its toll on him.

Morrow was a teammate of current Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller when the two were in Dallas.

Hainsey spent the past five seasons playing for the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets franchise and was still logging more than 20 minutes a game as recently as last season and was usually given the responsibility of going up against other team's top players. His offensive production has plummeted in recent years, however, and he hasn't scored a goal since the 2010-11 season.

The Hurricanes still have plenty of space under the league's $64.3-million salary cap, but according to DeCock are working under their own internal budget which means they'd likely have to ship somebody out to make room for either Morrow or Hainsey.

Given Carolina's struggles on defense last season it makes sense to do that for an addition like Hainsey (assuming the player they move out isn't a key player) but based on what Morrow has shown the past two seasons the Hurricanes are probably better off standing pat at forward.

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