While the group is a faded memory for many, chances are that the principle characters of the Marc Crawford era Vancouver Canucks – Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi, Brendan Morrision and the coach himself – must look back at that time with a wistful eye. Once things fell apart and they disbanded, each person bounced around the league without truly sticking anywhere, with Naslund retiring, Crawford and Bertuzzi struggling and Morrison barely holding onto whatever hope of a career he still has. None could say that their hockey lives have improved since that band split up.
Perhaps it makes sense, then, that Morrison’s career has come full circle this off-season. After failing to click during single season stays with the Anaheim Ducks/ Dallas Stars (08-09) and Washington Capitals (09-10), the Canucks handed him an opportunity to earn a poorly paid spot in his old stomping grounds. News 1130 has the story.
Morrison will join the squad in Penticton, Saturday, for the start of camp and fight for a roster spot. The centre spent eight seasons with the Canucks, most notably as a part of the West Coast Express line with Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi, putting up 393 points in his Vancouver tenure.
With a good pre-season showing, the Canucks could offer the free-agent a contract, likely at the league minimum.
My guess is Morrison would be the team’s fourth center at best, as he ranks far behind Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler and Manny Malhotra at this point in his career. He produced 42 points in Washington last year, but that was on a ridiculously over-powered squad that could probably pump up anyone’s offensive numbers. He’s not a great two-way forward, isn’t very big or physical and cannot do much in the faceoff circle, so his appeal is limited.
Will he be able to get by on anything beyond mere nostalgia? Good luck to him there.