The Blues had already established their intent to contend for the Stanley Cup.
But the addition of fearless winger Brenden Morrow reaffirmed this. This team was already plenty rugged up front – especially with young power forward Dmitrij Jaskin showing well -- but general manager Doug Armstrong couldn’t resist adding Morrow at a bargain price.
Morrow, David Backes, Chris Stewart, Ryan Reaves . . . if all these guys stay healthy, the Blues will be extremely unpleasant to play against.
In his heyday Morrow was one of the NHL’s most respected wingers. He led the charge for Ken Hitchcock when he coached there. He captained the Dallas Stars to perennial contention.
Blues fans remember him as one of their least favorite opponents. He earned more than 100 penalty minutes six times during his 13-year run for the Stars. He also scored 20 or more goals seven times.
Morrow, 34, scored 33 goals in 2010-11 before injuries took a considerable toll on his body.
But time marches on and the Stars jettisoned him to the Penguins last season as part of their overhaul. Morrow scored 14 points in 15 regular seasons games for Pittsburgh, but then scored just four points in 14 playoff games.
And with the one-time salary cap reduction handcuffing a lot of GMs in the league, he didn’t stir much bidding in free agency. He took a one-year, $1.5 million with the hope of rebuilding his value.
In previous summers, the Blues added former Cup winners Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner to gain playoff-proven leadership. Morrow provides the same element with a harder edge and potentially more goal-scoring ability.
He is more of a third-line player than first- or second-liner, but he is certainly NOT a spot play to park down on the fourth line. Morrow will push some established Blues for playing time.
Morrow will work the corners. He will crash the net. He will score some ugly goals. If somebody has a problem with how he plays, he may punch that guy in the nose.
The fact Morrow didn’t have a job when training camps will inspire him. Where was the respect for all he has done in this game?
For more on this signing, check out my story on STLToday.com.