Morrison Returns

The Calgary Flames announced on Friday afternoon the signing of Brendan Morrison to a one year contract.  Putting up 43 points in 66 games last season, Morrison missed out on the Calgary stretch drive after suffering a knee injury in Chicago.  Morrison was signed late in training camp last season and gave the team very good value for his contract.

Morrison’s contract is a one year deal with an average annual value of $1.25 million; breaking it down further, we find out he’ll play on a base salary of $800,000 with $400,000 in potential bonus value.  Morrison played the bulk of his time last season between Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla, so the potential for that line to be reunited is there off the hop this season.  He gave the team comfortable, solid minutes and I don’t see how that would change this time around.

It certainly raises some questions however, including ones surrounding Mikael Backlund.  The young forward finished the season centering the top line and started to make a case for himself to stay there going forward.  It also clogs up an already clogged up centre ice position, with Morrison joining Olli Jokinen, Daymond Langkow, Backlund, Matt Stajan and you can even throw David Moss into that mix.

There are a ton of forwards on this team right now and it seems more and more likely that there is more moves to come, whether it be with names like Niklas Hagman and Matt Stajan or otherwise.

  • Victoria Flames Fan

    Not much left of the Kotalik / Regher cap dump. So much for ‘getting out of cap jail’ so we can take advantages of the supposed opportunities coming our way.

    Cap geek is showing us at almost 63-million. Though Feaster needs to move at least one contract off the roster.

  • coptin_

    So, the last 2 years the Flames have failed to make the playoffs. They now have essentially the same roster as last year minus Regher and added a bunch of AHL defencemen. Is this supposed to fire fans up for the upcoming season? I just don’t get it. The Flames are either going to get career years from guys like Hagman, Stajan, and Sarich, and make the playoffs. Or, they will play like last year and go down in smoke. A few years back, I believe it was Jim Playfair said that Sarich was a better defenceman when he played under 15 minutes. Unless Feaster has an ace up his sleeve, I don’t think this season is going to go well at all.

    • Ken V.

      I feel the same way.

      And @ Todd… can you not be such an ASS?, because I do agree with you, but why not contribute intelligently if you have good points vs just being an ass? All it does is make people ignore your contributions.

      Vancouver, for example, has almost the same roster… maybe a little worse, but they now have 4 million cap space AND they won the Pres. Trophy, so they don’t NEED to change much.

      We, Calgary, don’t change, if anything get worse without Reggie and expect a better season?

      That’s insane. At least Sutter tried to change things when we/he failed.

      Feaster is just icing Sutter’s exact same failed experiment.

      It’s VERY frustrating to see this now after everything Feaster said. I’m not a fan of his.

  • I’m just baffled. Is Murray putting the guns to King who has mandated Feaster to get the bubble gum & patch the holes & get a long playoff run out of this group? I guess there are good reasons why Im not GM but what the hell????? Why cant we move some of these guys to teams trying to get to the cap min. If they dont even want them, cant Feaster see this year is the year of purging contracts & sometimes 2 steps back means 3 forward afterward. We’re giving up 5 th rounders of a prospect starved organization for players that it’s difficult to pencil in the lineup, then we sign more players in that same category.
    Your 4th line is supposed to be your energy, crash & send message line. Can you imagine the havak Leblond, Desbians & Kostop could stir up.
    Then your 3rd line should be a defensively solid shutdown type of line that can occasionally win some games for you. I see Jackman Moss & GlenX as a fabulous 3rd line.
    Our 2nd line need to be fast & offensively dangerous, picking up for the #1 line in games
    I see Bourque Langkow Joker. 11 million for a 2nd line & if Langkow doesnt rebound, we are in trouble. 1st Line has to be Tang/Backlund /Iggy. Has to be. Hagman & Stajan need to be moved & where does Morrison fit here????
    Any suggestions for Q&A next week with Feaster & King?

  • MC Hockey

    My guesses about Flames roster for 2011-12.
    1. Done for the summer, Feaster on vacation till August, then works on trades but comes up empty.
    2. Ivanans is done for life so eliminate him and replace with P3L as tough-guy-who-plays-15-games-maximum unless he proves he can be a good checker in training camp.
    3. Depending on their play and other prospects do in training camp and how they and others younr prospects do, either Stajan or Hagman may be buried in minors and kept as “injury insurance” like Kotalik was last year for awhile. Unless we can trade one of them to below-cap and/or desperate team.
    4. Hope Backlund given chance to play first-line C.
    5. Moss or Morrison move to wing on 3rd line(recall that Moss played a lot of C last year).
    6. Bold prediction; Flames have balanced 4-line scoring like Buffalo of 5 years ago and come in 6th in West. Then bow out in first round.

  • RKD

    I like this signing, with 43 points in 66 games Morrison proved to be one of the most consistent players for the Flames last season.

    Hopefully, he can duplicate last season and recovers from his leg/knee injury.

    Tanguay-Morrison-Iginla

    Glencross-Jokinen-Moss

    Bourque-Langkow-Backlund

    Hagman-Stajan-Jackman

    Morrison was mostly lucky last year. He rode percentages through the first two months and once those petered out, he mostly looked overwhelmed unless he was playing on the 4th line. His score tied corsi was the worst on the club last year at .452 which is probably replacement level quality.

    Calgary rolled a “7” with Morrison last season. They signed him out of desperation and he had a nice run of fortune that made the deal look really good. But at his age and given his underlying numbers, they aren’t likely to get that sort of value again.

    Is it possible Kent that once all the other Flames players started playing more consistently that Morrison started to look inferior. He was probably overwhelmed because he was being used as a #1 center which he isn’t and this team still doesn’t have.

  • Tanguay-Langkow-Iginla
    Stajan-Jokinen-Bourque
    Glencross-Backlund-Moss
    Kostopolous-Morrison-Jackman
    Leblond

    Langkow & Backlund flip-flop as different situations arise; Hagman out; Bouma/Byron/Nemisz/etc in Abby getting ready to take roster spots the following year.

    Bouwmeester-Giordano
    Brodie-Butler
    Babchuk-Sarich
    Carson

  • 2011-2012 feels like a “just make a respectible showing” year, while they wait for the kids to mature in junior and the AHL, and for all the contracts to come off the cap next summer.

    I get why they want Morrison around. He can play center or wing on lines 1 through 4 in a pinch. You can slot him in to virtually any injury.

    This feels like Hagman is history, and could possibly mean curtains for Stajan too. Although, I have a feeling that they will see if Stajan can raise his stock a bit before trying to move him. It isn’t like he can get any worse… right?

  • BAHAHAHAAH really Calgary? You guys are making this waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to easy. Pile on my Nucks all you want, but at least we are going back to the FINALS next year. Hopefully the refs improve this time around.

    So you subtracted your best D-man, added like 5 sixth to seventh dmen, and resigned all your players including 35 yearold Brendan Morrison. Has uncle Fester not said OVER and OVER again that there is a lot of opportunities for young players? Where up in the press box? Making Pop corn? Poor Backlund relgated to 4thline duties again. YOu better hope Stajan and Hagman get dealt Calgary, otherswise it will be a HAT TRICK on missing the playoffs.

  • When is everyone going to realize that Feaster is actually planning for past this season, something we are all obviously not used to seeing! Morrison got 43 points in 66 games for next to nothing last season and was a big loss down the stretch. If he comes in and does 70% of that I’ll be happy. Backlund is maturing but will not be a true #1 centre this year by any means. Having a leader like BMo in the dressing room for that price can’t be bad thing.

    Definitely a sign of things to come in the next couple of months, with regards to possible trades to bring it all into scope. The stockpiling of players creates a ton of competition with the fringe players and I look forward to training camp in September

    So far I do not see the Flames being any worse off than last year. Veteran players that just fill spots are a waste of money. Veteran players that are character guys and can produce only helps the long term of the organization, especially on one year deals around a million!

  • Michael

    Backlund simply isn’t ready to be a number one center, yes his play improved last year, but his lack of points and chemistry with Iggy rules him out of the top line, and both a healthy Langkow and Jokinen would rank ahead of him on the depth chart. Before the addition of Morrison, he was fighting for a third line spot, now he might be fighting Stajan for the fourth line… The Flames have lots of centers, none of whom are top flight.

    Morrison still gives us a relatively cheap, older but skilled player who has chemistry with Iggy, who can win faceoffs, good on the pk. I expect to see on the PP with the top line, limited top line duty and floating up and down
    the lineup. Decent insurance for one year, especially with a question mark on Langkow.

  • Ken V.

    i too like this. morrison “looked good” to my eyes last year. the fact that his corsi-tied rating places him last on the team causes me to wonder about the stat more than the player.

    how is it possible he rated lower than Stajan? Jokinen?

    Kent, i’d love to see a more thorough breakdown. zone start, qual comp, all that good stuff.

  • Derzie

    Do you dissenting clowns even watch hockey? Anyone who thinks Morrison does not make this team better, by a lot, is not paying attention. We are not winning the cup this year. We are not tanking. We are staying competitive until next year when a boat load of bad contracts end. We have no bevy of prospects that need ice time as some posters claim. We have a stew of mediocre young players, some of which may make the big team. Backlund is good but not great. He will land where he is best suited. Right now that is not line 1. Morrison is better. Age is irrelevant when talking about right now. The future is where it matters and that is why Morrison has one year. Find me a forward that is as good as he is for the money he was signed for. You can’t. This is a perfect move for Calgary.

    • Ken V.

      I dont disagree on most of what you say except you are ignoring some glaring contradictions.
      Yes we have a lot of questions about the majority of our prospects that should be considered making the big team and then we go on to trade & sign a whole bunch more of these prospects. If this is a stop gap year to purge away some ugly Daryl era contracts, should we not be increasing our draft picks moving forward, not decreasing them? We gave away Regehr to free cap space & then refill with older players or similar prospects that we already have. Another competitive 10th/11th place season isnt in the best interest of the franchise. Wouldnt this stop gap year be better served with playing the likes Bouma, Nemitz, Brodie, Byron, Butler, Carson and evaluate what we do have going forward? Make no mistake, Backlund is our best prospect & he is simply not built for 3rd or 4th line duties. I’m sorry, you will be just destroying this kids career doing that, we may as well trade him while we can get good value for him.
      We have huge issues on defence. Sarich is not top 4 but just a grossly overpaid solid #5-6 dman. I would of rather of given McCabe a 2 year deal, not signed Babchuk. Morrison,even though he wont be healed & ready for training camp, I like him, great signing if Feaster had traded Hagman & Stajan first. Daryl may have lost it in 2010, I think Phaneuf fiasco really through DS off the rails but at least I could understand what Daryl’s plan was. I’m quite baffled right now.

    • Ken V.

      I agree, Backlund is not ready for the first line full time, and BMo is bang for the buck. He plays a complete game on both ends of the ice and having him back for one season will only help and Backlund could learn a thing or two from BMo. Again, great to have him back and don’t worry, Backlund will only benefit from this as he develops into a #1 center in one or two more seasons.

  • robficiur

    Haggman could be going to Columbos with the injury to Christian Husalius. Haggamn had 27 goals two years ago. He is “only” a $3 million cap hit for one season. Haggman can play on 2nd line for teams like Columbos or Minnesota.

    Morrison is a bargain deal. Every team needs a depth forward who can play all three positions and can sit out if the team is going well.

  • lostdog82

    Why does Calgary management continue to bring in old players? Not saying that all the older players are bad but the league is about speed now and calgary seems to lack some. Edmonton is too young and calgary too old. When are we going to be able too meet in the playoffs and make this rivalry worth something? Doesn’t look like it will be this year.

  • Perhaps we can offload a couple of our cheaper dmen on Chicago in exchange for Chris Campoli. Dude is 26, has donepretty well for Ottawa and Chicago, and Bowman has said they’re not going to re-sign him (RFA). Would be good on the second pairing with Babchuk.

  • Michael

    So, can someone please tell me where Byron fits into this picture? I thought Feaster said he was ready to step in and was a big part of why we traded our 2nd best D-man? So what line is he on? He can’t play 4th line. And that would be with Stajan and Hagman gone.

    There’s nothing really wrong with BMo and while you can’t quantify “the dressing room angle,” the Flames may not have collapsed quite so bad had he been in the line-up (though IMO that was due more to the level of competition they were now facing). He’s 10x the leader Iginla is, that’s for sure.

    On the other hand, on the ice, he’s basically a spare part. A useful and affordable one, but sooner or later Calgary has to start opening room for younger guys to develop. Those Sutters just love their vets.

    I keep hoping that Jay realizes this team will be about the same as last year (8-10th) and is doing this on purpose. This year when the team sucks halfway through the season and they’re not going on some miracle run through the dog days of the season he can go to the owners and convince them that now is the time to move Iginla, Tanguay, Kipper, Bourque, Glencross, Bouwmeester and all the other useless flotsam.

    Of course, the flaw in that reasoning and coming full circle back to Byron is why they moved Regehr for a bag of pucks if they’re so insistent on stocking up on vets?

    This team is so scared of change when it comes to player personell. We’re the anti-Paul Holmgrens of the league. Debate his trades this summer all you want (I like them), but the guy saw his core wasn’t winning and made moves to change it. And consider that they’ve had far more success than Calgary has had in recent years, yet we seemingly choose to operate with Einstein’s definition of insanity.

    Basically, this coming season feels like a write-off.

    • Michael

      Bang on buddy. I think most of us realize Feaster had very limited options this summer due to contracts. Still, have a plan to change. All he’s done is resign players that at Christmas were a lottery team & subtracted Regehr & left us with only 2 top 4 defenceman & we gave up a 2nd rounder to do it. I’ve heard Feaster spew consensus management & having good people as part of that process. My only concern is the flip side of that is we have a GM without the balls and conviction to follow through on his vision of what it takes to be successful in the NHL.

      • Michael

        I’ve made mention before that consensus is usually a pipedream. In reality there are always going to be different voices with diffrent, which is a good thing, but at the edn of the day you need a hockey man to sort through all of that. The problem with Feaster is he’s not a hockey man, but has the final say and with a consensus he opens himself up to comepeting political agendas and can be easily led in directions he may not have intended to go. IMO.

    • Michael

      I agree with what you say here, the core is getting older and the Flames do not have any great prospects in the organization, so moving the core for some prospects is what we have to do to become a better team moving forward. I agree with you about Holmgren and the Flyers (They traded Jeff Carter for Voracek, Couturier, and a 3rd!!) and they will be a better team in the future.

      I have noticed in a few of your posts that you do not seem to be a huge Iggy fan. Why is that? He has carried this team on his back for 10 years now, often times without anyone helping him. Yes, I understand why you would see the benefit in trading him, we could get some nice draft picks and prospects in return, however I still think he is one of the premiere forwards in the league.

  • Michael

    @ the wolf
    Completely agree with your comments. This “core” that the Flames refer to, seems very sacred. This core has not won a damn thing for a very long time. So why can’t changes be made to this so called untouchable core? Are the Flames worried they might hurt Iginla’s feelings? Are they worried the fans will revolt if Kipprusoff is traded? If the defence starts the season with the players that are here now, I can seriously see the Flames being outshot some nights 55-10. It’s gonna be ugly

  • Michael

    @the-wolf

    The problem is that Feaster has Sutter disease, he can point to the run late last season and say
    ‘this team is only one addition away’…
    The reality is that the Flames are an aging middle of the pack club, who still don’t have many blue chip impact prospects.

    With the loss of Regehr, this team is actually weaker than last year, and many teams in our division have stayed much the same or improved.
    It might be another tough year.

    This team should have made major changes before the start of last season, and the sooner the better, the value of Iggy et all is declining monthly.

  • Michael

    Yeah, it kind of spooks me that not being a hockey man & having to talk over everything he’ll be a target of savey GMs trying to take advantage or it will only frustrate GM’s & then it becomes too painful to deal with us. I think there were some opportunities I dont think Feaster explored at the draft. Surely he must have known signing Richards was a real long shot & the Regehr giveaway was all we did at the draft. Just have a bad feeling about this.

  • the-wolf

    @schevvy

    I think Iggy is a tremendous offensive player. He’s a great talent and athlete. He’s also a swell guy, probably great in the room and great in the community. He’s always available for interview and that’s why the media adore him.

    My problems with him are that he’s one of the worst defensive players in the league and if he had a European last name would not get nearly the slack that he does.

    Regehr often called out unnamed forwards for not coming back, who was he refering to over and over again? Sometimes I think it’s the reason Regehr was traded, he’s a threat to Iginla’s status as king.

    He’s basically refused to play the last few and current coach’s systems. In his own words “I’m here to score goals.”

    Everyone talks about how much more effective Yzerman became when he bought in. But what about Iginla? Maybe the team would’ve found their groove sooner if the best player on the team would learn to lead by example. He basically pouts when the coach wants him to play a certain style and only starts scoring once the coach gives up and lets him loose, realizing that it’s a showdown the coach will never win.

    When he does cross his own blueline it’s for show, rarely ever intercepting a pass or picking a pocket ala Datsyuk.

    Even Lanny McDonald has commented on how ineffective Iginla is when he cherry picks (which is always) vs. when he breaks out as a 5 man unit.

    In other words, he doesn’t lead by example. He takes shifts off, periods off, games off, stretches of games off. During the Olympic year he literally did nothing until it was announced that the Olympic roster was far from set and that players had to earn their way on. He then went on a tear right up until it was announced the roster was now set.

    Outside of a half-decent pass that Crosby probably would’ve just banked off the boards to himself (after splitting the D, taking it to the boards, getting the puck back, giving it to Iginla and then scoring)on the winning goal, Iginla basically did nothing but light it up against Norway and Germany.

    I’m far from a north-south advocate, but watching a RW play half the game from the left side is painful and the obvious reason Iggy finds it hard to find chemistry with a lot of linemates.

    Don Hay in Kamloops is the one who transformed Iginla from one dimensional score into power forward and defensively conscious. But with Calgary so talent-less for so long, coach after coach just put him out to score goals and he could literally do what he wanted out there. It ruined him, culminating in his decision to trim weight and become a finesse winger rather than a power winger.

    At least last year he became more physical again, started playing a more power game again. But the 2 seasons before that, where he basically stood at the top of the circles and banged his stick on the ice for the one-timer was pathetic. His entire approach to leadership was to drop the gloves every several games.

    Outside of goals, I don’t think he gives much and his liabilities almost cancel out the positives.