Jay Feaster has rectified one of his off-season errors tonight by dealing Brendan Morrison to the Chicago Blackhawks for defender Brian Connelly. The high scoring blueliner is 25-years old and was never drafted. Connelly managed 11 goals and 52 points in 80 games for the Rockford Icehogs last year and is second on the team in scoring this season with 36-points in 44 games.
The real news here, however, is the departure of Morrison. The 36 year old had a nice season for the Flames last year but has mostly functioned as a 13th forward when healthy this season. Although still rather crafty with the puck Morrison tends to be easily bested in puck battles and can’t get around as well thanks to his age and off-season knee surgery. His deal was a mistake the second it was inked this past summer, albeit one that was easily corrected.
In Connelly, the Flames add another mid-20’s, high scoring AHL veteran in the same mold as Clay Wilson and Derek Smith, both of whom have served the organization well at both minor and major league levels. The addition fills a need in Abbotsford with TJ Brodie likely here to stay and gives the team another chance unearthing a Smith-like gem going forward.
Overall, it’s a good move. It clears up a bit of cap space for the Flames and adds a low-cost, low risk player who can step into the pro ranks and start contributing immediately.