Some players simply fit well with certain teams. Brendan Morrow and the Rangers would fit. If Morrow, as suggested by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, is potentially up for grabs then the Rangers should seriously look in to getting him off the Dallas Stars.
There are several reasons Morrow would be a success as a Ranger. First of all Morrow can play the style employed by John Tortorella. He’s an excellent forechecker, plays a physical brand of hockey but is also a good finisher and has two 30 goal seasons on his resume (as well as four seasons of 49+ points). He’s also not afraid to go in to high traffic areas and look for rebounds.
Then there is the leadership and experience Morrow brings. A successful, cup contending team can never have too much leadership, it can never have too many players willing to assume responsibility and Morrow has never been a player to shy away from responsibility. He’s been a leader on the Stars for a long time now and given his previous success with Team Canada is a man that would instantly command respect in the locker room.
Morrow has experience playing with Brad Richards and adapting to the Rangers way would surely be made easier by being so familiar with someone such as Richards. Morrow would also (possibly on Richards’ line) solve an issue that is affecting the Rangers which is a top six scoring left winger that is. Anisimov has disappeared, Dubinsky has had a very underwhelming season and will all due respect, Fedotenko is not the answer for a team wanting to go deep.
Acquiring Morrow would also see other pieces fall into place to form a quality third line. While his long term future may (should?) be in the top six, acquiring Morrow would likely see Dubinsky dropping to the third line to form a dangerous trio, likely with Boyle and Prust. It allows the team to ice a third line competent both defensively and offensively, something that Morrow’s presence would cause. How does the idea of a Morrow – Richards – Callahan line sound? It would give the Rangers two first lines in theory, something this club hasn’t had much of.
Scared of the contract? Don’t be. Morrow is making a reasonable $4.1m (a similar annual salary Sean Avery makes…tumbleweed) and has one more year beyond this season. He has the quality to contribute this year and next and should he not be a success in New York, a player with his resume possessing an expiring contract should be relatively easy to move and not a subsequent cap anchor.
There are also concerns with Morrow however. He is a controversial character that has had league discipline issues and isn’t afraid to voice his opinion. Would he get along with the coach? Then there is a relatively recent injury history in which Morrow has missed significant time. Throw in the fact that the Stars are in the playoff hunt (albeit it currently on the outside looking in) and Morrow isn’t likely to be cheap if he’s available.
To sum up however, if the Rangers feel like they can contend (as they approach the deadline) Morrow makes sense for so many reasons. This team needs more offense, could benefit from more big-game experience and likely has the pieces to acquire a proven player such as Morrow. In the short term, he’s a better solution than Bobby Ryan financially, and doesn’t block the highly touted prospects (or roster youth like Hagelin) mid-to-long term. There’s a lot to like about acquiring Morrow.