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McKenzie: Is Stars captain Morrow available for trade?

Bob McKenzie

1/26/2012 4:21:57 PM

Here's a question a lot of contending NHL teams are asking today: Is Brenden Morrow of the Dallas Stars available for trade?

There is certainly some talk within the NHL community anticipating that Morrow "may" become available between now and the NHL trade deadline.

But the Stars are right in the thick of the playoff race, currently sitting in 10th place, just three points out of eighth and have played fewer games than any of the teams immediately in front of them.

Morrow has this season and one more with an annual cap hit of $4.1 million, and he has a no-trade clause.

So if Morrow doesn't want to move, he's not going anywhere and the Stars are certainly not in a position where they necessarily "need" to trade their captain. And because of the NTC, they're not about to aggressively shop him either.

But that doesn't mean there aren't contenders interested in targeting him as a possible acquisition. 

Morrow, who scored 33 goals last season (on pace for half that this season), has all the attributes a Cup contending team would pay dearly for. The former Canadian Olympian is physical, can score and his character and leadership abilities are well documented. But the veteran winger also has some hard miles on him.

Morrow missed the last game before the All-Star break with an upper-body injury but he is expected to be playing next week once the break is over.

As competitive as the Stars are right now with Morrow in the lineup, there is a sense their best years are still ahead of them and if the yield is a significant package that makes them younger and better in the long haul, perhaps it's something that the Stars might consider. That said, dealing with players who have an NTC can be tricky and sensitive at the best of times. 

One source in Dallas suggested they are "probably not" going to move him before the deadline but that didn't shut the door tight on the notion either, especially if a lot of teams come calling with intriguing offers. 

One team executive told TSN that he heard "Morrow might be available" and "we certainly intend to find out if he is."

So at the very least, it's a situation worth monitoring.