Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Morrison chooses Ducks

Free agent centre Brendan Morrison is off the free agent list, as the B.C. native is set to join the Anaheim Ducks. Terms of the impending contract are not known, but it is expected to be a one- or two-year deal.

Morrison is still rehabbing after undergoing knee surgery on April 7 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. It is Morrison's fourth surgery in the past two years.
Based on the various reports out there, it sounds as if this will be a one-year contract, which makes sense given Morrison's health situation.

Anaheim has some serious cap issues, even without this deal. Morrison's likely to get at least $2-million, and probably closer to $3-million, even after a lost season in Vancouver, and the Ducks simply don't have that space.

With $7.3-million committed in goal, $22.2-million on the blueline and $25.6-million up front (pre-Morrison), the obvious spot for a bit of trimming is on defence, and we've heard the Mathieu Schneider trade rumours for a while now. A move to Ottawa makes sense, although the Ducks aren't in a position to take much salary back.

Freeing up Schneider's $5.625-million deal would allow both Morrison and Teemu Selanne's contracts to fit, albeit narrowly, under the cap, but it's more likely that Selanne's headed for retirement and another blueliner will fit into the top six.

Anaheim's biggest issue at the moment is that it has very little cheap, young talent able to play a major role. Minus Selanne, who does Morrison play with on the second line? How does the team improve without Schneider on the blueline? And how big of a role can Bobby Ryan fill after a solid turn in the AHL playoffs?

The Ducks were the third lowest-scoring team in the league last season, ahead of just Columbus and the Islanders, and potentially lose the offensive contributions of Todd Bertuzzi, Schneider, Doug Weight and Selanne.

They're in for a tough year.



At 2:19 a.m., July 08, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Is Brian Burke still the best GM in the NHL, James?

The Ducks will benefit offensively from Niedermeyer being back all year. And Doug Weight was quite a non-factor for the team, so I don't see that being an issue.

They should've tried to move Schneider last year instead of Andy Mac. They took a gamble on some old legs and it bit them.

But they're still quite a good team. I don't think it's going to be a "tough" year. They came up short in their division by not a lot, especially considering all the drama around the team.

They could use a breakout year offensively, though.

With so many potential UFA's in 2009 on their roster, this has to be an all or nothing type campaign for the Ducks. 12 UFA's is quite a lot, especially since 5 of them are defencemen.

At 3:11 a.m., July 08, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With so many potential UFA's in 2009 on their roster, this has to be an all or nothing type campaign for the Ducks.

That's not Burkie's problem. He'll be long gone and on his way to Toronto before those UFAs need to be dealt with.

At 9:15 a.m., July 08, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Burkie will retire because Bettman told him to shut his yap. That's like telling Gretzky not to pass or Ovechkin not to shoot.

Selanne is in shock after one worker in his building project(Teemu owns 11%, Donald Trump part-owner, too) in Lapland died accidently yesterday.

Huge concrete wall fell on this poor fellow crushing him.

At 12:19 p.m., July 08, 2008, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

With so many potential UFA's in 2009 on their roster, this has to be an all or nothing type campaign for the Ducks.

Yeah, actually I'm sort of on board with this roster explosion; it does at least make a clean cut for Burke (although I'll soon be campaigning for a Pahlsson extension).

And James, I can't say I'm that worried about next year either. Losing names like Weight and Bertuzzi is more encouraging than discouraging, but even with some movement left to be done, I have yet to see a poor team with Niedermayer and Pronger eating minutes.

One way or another, it's looking like Burkie's Swan Song experiment this year in Anaheim. I'm pretty excited (and Morrison fits into that pretty well). Teemu's decision will be an important one, though.

At 5:21 p.m., July 08, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 09/10 it'll look just as bad for the Ducks as it does for Vancouver now. Burkie strikes again.


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