Sunday, March 24, 2013

Texas Stars Likely to Acquire D Joe Morrow in Trade with Penguins

The Dallas Stars heart and soul captain, Brenden Morrow, is on an expiring contract, and his best years are certainly behind him at this point. However, he's a gritty veteran player and could be that last piece to push a team over the edge to the Cup. The Pittsburgh Penguins thought so at least, acquiring him today in a trade with the Dallas Stars. In return for Brenden Morrow and a third round pick, the Dallas organization picked up defenseman Joe Morrow and fifth round pick.

Joe Morrow is a former first round pick, going 23rd overall in 2011 to the Pens. He played his WHL hockey with Portland where he shared the ice with Texas Stars forward Colton Sceviour, defenseman William Wrenn and likely future Star center Taylor Peters. By his final season, he was highly regarded as a puck moving defenseman.

Kirk Luedeke, regional scout for Red Line Report and a Boston Bruins and NHL Prospects writer for New England and New York Hockey Journal, had this to say about Morrow in his 2011 draft preview:
Puck moving, puck rushing d-man likes to dictate pace of play from back end & carries puck up ice himself w/o hesitation. Loves to join the rush & jump up into the play...has a big-time shot from the point & is the triggerman on the PP. Still has a way to go in d-zone coverage down low but improving his defensive awareness.
A lot of scouts had their eye on him and thought he could be a decent sleeper pick. Then he scored 17 goals and 47 assists in his final season in major junior and any hopes of a sleeper pick went out the window. Everyone knew who Joe Morrow was.

Morrow began his professional career with AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The always quotable Jason Iacona had this to say on Morrow this season, who has compiled four goals and eleven assists in 57 games.
[Morrow] can play all situations, PP/PK. nothing flashy, still learning pro game. Hard slap shot. Doesn't get pushed around often.
Morrow has been on the second or third pairing this season for WBS, mostly paired with second year man Philip Samuelsson, according to Iacona.

Mike Heika reports that Dallas will work out Morrow in Frisco this week and determine whether he should start his Stars' career in Cedar Park or Dallas. My guess is Cedar Park, but a Dallas team desperate to win could throw a curveball into things and completely invalidate all of the above analysis by keeping the blue liner. The fact that he was getting second and third pairing minutes in Wilkes-Barre leads me to believe he still needs to simmer in the AHL. If Dallas wanted another defensive player in Dallas, they wouldn't have sent Jamie Oleksiak down this week.

Heika also reminds us that the Stars scout the WHL very well (Fraser, Dillon, Jamie Benn). The WHL scouts are probably very familiar with his game and if they recommend him highly, I'm sure Dallas's Joe Nieuwendyk is more likely to listen after their recent successful track record.

The Stars are more than a little crowded on defense now. Let's assume that Jordie Benn isn't coming back to Texas this season, for the purposes of this analysis. Here are the lines from Saturday:

Oleksiak-Wrenn
Sneep-Baldwin
Fortunus-Sloan

Nemeth (injury)
Commodore, Labrie (scratch)

Who sits to make room for Morrow? It's probably Wrenn. But then once Commodore gets in shape and Nemeth gets healthy? Labrie would probably be assigned to Idaho for the playoffs. Maybe they release Wrenn? The Stars have really thrown him into the fire and continue to do so. Texas would still be scratching two or three players, and not insignificant ones, if they did get everyone back.

On the other hand, it would be nice for Doug Lidster to have such riches to choose from instead of the duct tape and bailing wire situation he was faced with last month.

5 comments:

  1. As much as I like the kid, I think Baldwin should be the first expendable defense man. For me Wrenn is a better prospect than Baldwin.

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    1. Baldwin is SPC and Wrenn is PTO. That's a factor.

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  2. In his past ten games with W-B/S, Joe Morrow has 1G, 2A, -2, 23 shots, 2 PIM. Pittsburgh did not feel he was NHL-ready yet, being in his first pro season. I agree that Texas should expect to see this D-man before the weekend, and that Labrie will likely be headed back to Idaho. Wrenn, as a PTO, is likely the odd-man out once Commodore shows he is ready to play. On top of this, Dallas now needs a LW that can play top-9 or top-6 minutes -- so I expect Matt Fraser to be headed back to Dallas ASAP.
    - PBG

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    1. On another note referencing numbers available in Texas (from the Twitter feed), #9 has been worn by multiple players this season but is not being used at the moment since Jones was released from his PTO a bit ago. Seeing as how Dillon is never coming back to Texas, #4 is definitely available. Doubting that Jordie Benn is coming back either, that makes #8 also available. My money is on #9, but I don't know what Morrow will choose if given an option.
      - PBG

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    2. Good note, PBG. #9 does seem open for the taking at the moment, but it's possible Texas could go further than Idaho in the playoffs and then call up Austin Smith. Would be awkward turtle.

      I don't think Dillon is ever coming back either. I think #4 might be your number.

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