Monday, 23 September 2013

Brenden Morrow for one year at $1.5M? Why couldn't we have signed him for that?

News item:  Brenden Morrow has signed a one-year deal with the St. Louis Blues for $1.5M.  That's it.  There goes the theory some fans promulgated that he was waiting for a long-term deal to come his way.  In reality, he snapped up the first firm contract offer he received, in contrast to the few pro try-out offers he was rumoured to be considering.

Not to belly-ache too much, but as an uninformed fan who doesn't have all the facts at hand, I would much prefer our team's outlook if we had foregone signing Daniel Brière and used that money on both Brenden Morrow and Simon Gagné instead.  Not sure if Marc Bergevin or anyone predicted this kind of market in late June, one in which many quality veterans can be had in August and September for cheap on short-term deals, but the latter two players would complement our lineup much better than Mr. Brière.

Brenden Morrow could play on any line.  On the left of Tomas Plekanec, he'd allow René Bourque to switch over to his preferred right wing, and he'd do some digging in the corners and hang around the front of the net, while pitching in with some diligent defensive work, which is crucial on that line.  He could be the veteran on the kid line, playing left wing on Lars' side if one of the sophomores had to be moved.  On the David Desharnais line, he'd provide a bit of a physical game, he'd protect his centreman from the intimidation tactics that some other teams often resort too.  Not that he's an enforcer or anything, but he's a big strong guy with lots of character who doesn't take any guff.  And so on, he'd have been a bit of a multi-tool that Michel Therrien can use in any situation.  He could have been stashed on the fourth line, have permitted the trade of Travis Moen if need be, and he is enough of a team guy that he would have accepted sitting in the press box for a few games if necessary.

The only downside I can imagine is that possibly Marc Bergevin thought that his low-scoring, high-effort role might be effectively filled by one of Gabriel Dumont, Michaël Bournival or Louis Leblanc this season if they were called up.  He may have thought that having him in the lineup might stall these kids' progress.

Simon Gagné is a personal favourite, a heart and soul Patrice Bergeron-type, who can play either wing and scores regularly.  He's not a physical player per se, but does have size and strength and can protect the puck better than Daniel Brière can.  Sure he has concussion issues and a lengthy injury history, but that's how come we can snap him up for free.  Or real cheap anyway.

So that would have been my druthers.  Get both these veterans for $3M total for one year.  If it works great, if not, we re-assess at the trade deadline or in June.  Man, being a GM is easy.

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