In the 102-year history of the National Hockey League, 348 individuals have played 1,000 or more regular season games. 44 of them, or 12.6%, have played some part of their career with the Atlanta or Calgary Flames. We call these players Long-Timers.
Let’s take a look at Derek Morris.
Born in Edmonton, Morris came up through the WHL with the Regina Pats. He was the Flames’ first round pick in 1996 and made the NHL team out of training camp in 1997.
Finishing fifth in Calder voting – in a really stacked rookie class headlined by Sergei Samsonov – Morris carved out a nice career for himself as a very good (but not quite great) two-way defender. He spent five seasons with the Flames – playing zero playoff games because it was the late ’90s and it was the Flames – before being traded to Colorado with Jeff Shantz and Dean McAmmond for Chris Drury and Stephane Yelle.
His first season with Colorado, 2002-03, was his best offensive season with 11 goals and 48 points. He was traded the next season at the trade deadline, the first of three times he was moved at the deadline: he went from Colorado to Phoenix with Keith Ballard for Ossi Vaananen, Chris Gratton and a second round pick.
Morris settled into a leadership role in Phoenix, good for around 25 points a season and wearing an A for half of his run. As a pending free agent, he was traded to the Rangers at the 2009 trade deadline for Dmitri Kalinin, Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha. He signed with Boston as a free agent, but was traded back to the Coyotes at the 2010 trade deadline for a third round pick. He played four more seasons in the desert before retiring in 2014. Now he coaches youth hockey in the Phoenix area.
Not only did Morris continue a long tradition of Edmonton-born people going on to fame and fortune elsewhere, but he had a long productive career. He played more games in the NHL than any other Flames first round pick of the 1990s.