Monday, October 04, 2010

Morrison Cut by Canucks - Should the Leafs Bite?

The Vancouver Canucks cut put centre Brendan Morrison on waivers today. As the 29th best team in the NHL last season, the Leafs have a very good shot at winning a claim, should they put one in. making him a UFA.

I don't normally weigh in on short-term roster moves or hypothetical personnel decisions, but the Leafs are awfully thin at centre and while they're not swimming in cap space, they do have room left on their 50 SPC limit to grab a guy like Morrison.

With final cuts expected at noon today (October 4, 2010) the Leafs still have six centres in camp, and none of them seem prepared to handle the tough minutes.

Tyler Bozak looked tremendous in the final half of last season, but how plausible does it seem that an undrafted kid with 37 NHL games experience will succeed as a #1 Centre in the NHL?

Mikhail Grabovski is a serviceable #2, but there a plenty of questions of size, strength stamina (and sanity).

Nazem Kadri seems destined to start this season with the Marlies.

In the #3 and #4 slots, the Leafs look like they’re going to go with AHL cast-offs.

It may seem hard to believe, but this team is going to start with two of Tim Brent, Mike Zigomanis and Christian Hanson up the middle. Hanson, who I thought looked good in camp and is one of the few big bodies at centre, might be starting with the Marlies as he's waiver exempt.

I can’t see how a guy with 37GP, Grabbo, and two AHLers up the middle is any sort of recipe for success, but then again I haven't won managed to win a hockey pool in years and I've been turned down for every GM opening in the NHL.

Obviously, Morrison isn't the player he once was, but he's a known quantity, a veteran presence and he has ties to Burke, having played for him in Vancouver and Anaheim.

It's a short term solution to be certain, but I'd feel better with Morrison playing 8 minutes a night than handing those minutes to Brent and/or Zigomanis.


The Calgary Flames signed Morrison for $750K. The Leafs look like they're rolling out Bozak, Grabovski, Brent and Mitchell as their starting four with Zigomanis in the press box.

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  1. Brendan Morrison isn't on waivers, he was invited to training camp by the Canucks and was not retained. He's a UFA.

  2. LeafFanInVan2:18 pm

    According to Elliot Friedman and other sources the Leafs aren't looking at picking him up, but I think they should for all the reasons stated.

    I think he'd be able to push past Grabovski into the #2 slot if his speed is still there.

  3. Paul Steckley3:46 pm

    Morrison is clearly not the same player he once was but last year showed he could still put up some decent numbers. I don't see him as a legitimate #2, even on the Leafs, but I agree they should be looking at him for that 3rd line.

    That is assuming that his asking price is reasonable, and that is likely the reason the Leafs aren't interested. He made $1.5 million last season. Brent will probably earn the league minimum. That extra $1 million could probably be put to better use than to upgrade the 3rd line centre. At this point, I'd suspect the Leafs want to see how Brent fairs. If he flames out, and Morrison is still available, I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up in a Leaf uniform before the end of the season.

  4. LeafFanInVan4:25 pm

    Morrison apparently signed with Calgary for $750k. Good deal imo.

  5. Very timely post. Although Tim Brent is good on face-offs and does not embarrass himself, he is a temporary solution.

    Let's see if Burke can find someone through waivers in the next 24 hours. If Lamoriello keeps his word, then Zubrus may be placed on waivers.

    Otherwise, we wait to see how Christian Hanson and Braydon Irwin develop (along with Kadri, Caputi, Mueller, D'Amigo, and Aulie) playing for the Marlies.