We’ve examined the free agent possibilities out there for a few players this off-season but there’s one formerly prominent scoring center out there still without a home. Former Canucks star Brendan Morrison is still looking for an NHL job and after down years with the Stars and Capitals the last two seasons, he’s looking to pick his career up.
Like many other veterans out on the free agent market, he’s hoping to latch on somewhere but Jim Jamieson of The White Towel finds out that Morrison has some standards he wants met.
Morrison, an unrestricted free agent, is still looking for a team to land with. But he won’t accept a tryout contract. It’s got to be a guaranteed contract or he won’t go. He’s also made up him mind that he won’t play in Europe.
“We’re still talking to some teams and hopefully something comes through by Friday,” said Morrison on Tuesday. “But a lot of teams have the same message. We want to start camp and see what we’ve got here.”
Time to break this down with some harsh reality for Brendan Morrison. He’s now 35 years-old. His last good season in the NHL was 2006-2007 in Vancouver when he was fully healthy and had 20 goals and 31 assists. Since then, he’s had seasons of 25 points (in 39 games), 31 with Anaheim and Dallas, and 42 with the Caps.
As last season wore down, Morrison did as well, scoring just 18 points from the start of 2010 through to the end of the playoffs and the Caps exit in the first round. Since his running days with Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi in Vancouver, Morrison’s production has slipped tremendously. He was brought to Washington last season to perhaps reignite his game with a high-powered Caps offense searching for a second line center. Things started well, but fizzled hard at the end.
Morrison seeking out all those demands to get a job once again in the NHL seems a bit crazy given how the market has been all off-season and how even vets in better negotiating position than what Morrrison has had to change their focus. You just have to hope that Brendan Morrison’s salary demands aren’t out of whack or else he’ll find out that the winter will be very cold off the ice.
The Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trade speculation may have died down since it peaked at the draft in late June, but it’s not entirely dead.
The 23-year-old former first overall draft pick was asked to address the ongoing rumors Monday at an Oilers charity golf tournament.
“I try not to pay attention too much,” Nugent-Hopkins said, per the Edmonton Journal. “If it happens, it happens. I know it’s definitely a different group than the one we finished with last season.”
Indeed it is. Most notably, Taylor Hall is in New Jersey now, traded for defenseman Adam Larsson. The Oilers also signed Milan Lucic and drafted Jesse Puljujarvi.
What’s still lacking is an offensive defenseman who can run the power play, which is why the names Tyson Barrie (Avalanche) and Matt Dumba (Wild) have been floated as potential targets.
The Wild in particular could use a good, young center like Nugent-Hopkins, and the expansion draft is looming for a Minnesota club that already has defensemen Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, and Marco Scandella locked up in long-term contracts.
Barrie, meanwhile, has an arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday.
Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk is another name that’s come up; however, he can become an unrestricted free agent after next season, and whether he’d re-sign in Edmonton is in doubt.
Chalk up another arbitration hearing that won’t be required. This time it’s Brandon Manning‘s. The 26-year-old defenseman has agreed on a two-year, $1.95 million deal with the Philadelphia Flyers, according to CSN Philly.
Manning’s hearing was scheduled for next Tuesday. He was the last restricted free agent on the Flyers, after Brayden Schenn re-signed Monday.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was the first to report the Manning signing.
Manning played 56 games for the Flyers in 2015-16, his first full season in the NHL. He had one goal and six assists while logging an average ice time of 16:32.
The Chicago Blackhawks are reportedly parting ways with defenseman David Rundblad. The two sides have agreed to a contract termination, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rundblad, 25, was set to earn $1.1 million this season, per General Fanager. His cap hit was $1.05 million, meaning the ‘Hawks will gain $100,000 in cap space by not having to bury his contract in the AHL next season.
Rundblad was unlikely to make the Blackhawks in 2016-17 — not after the additions of Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny, and also the re-signing of Michal Rozsival.
It remains to be seen where Rundblad will end up. One possibility is back in Switzerland, where he spent part of last season before dressing three times for the ‘Hawks in the playoffs.
Darryl Sydor, after being let go by the Minnesota Wild, has joined the Chicago Wolves as an assistant coach.
The St. Louis Blues, the parent club of the AHL Wolves, made the announcement Monday. It was also announced that former NHLer Daniel Tkaczuk would join Sydor as an assistant on new head coach Craig Berube’s staff.
Sydor, who won two Stanley Cups as a defenseman, spent five years as an assistant on Mike Yeo’s staff in Minnesota. His time with the Wild was marred by an arrest in 2015 for drunk driving. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and sought treatment.
“I know now that alcoholism is a disease and I’m powerless over alcohol,” he told Kamloops This Week in January. “I can never have a drink again and I’m fine with that.”