The Canucks announced yesterday that former Canuck Brendan Morrison will be trying out for the team in training camp (related: Peter Schaefer is also on a tryout). This is interesting on a number of fronts. To start, Morrison will play in the preseason in a Canucks jersey and could make the team, be cut or sign with any other team before the start of the regular season. So quite clearly, nothing is guaranteed.
Beyond that, it usually makes sense to tryout for a team that you think is a fit. Looking at the Canucks depth at centre (H. Sedin, Kesler, Malhotra), Morrison looks to be a fourth line centre on this team. So could it work? Well, lets take a look at the merits of him ending up in blue and green on October 9th:
What has he been up to?
After leaving the Canucks as a free agent in 2008, Morrison split 2008-09 with Anaheim and Dallas and played last season in Washington.
Has he been any good?
Mixed reviews. Morrison was 60 point first line guy for the most part in Vancouver, but his production has slowed with age/injuries. He put up a disappointing 31 points in 2008-09 but increased his total to 42 points last season.
Where does he fit?
His days of being a top six forward are over, but could be a third line centre with some speed/versatility on most teams. When healthy, the Canucks have a spot open on the third line (assuming none of their prospects step up and grab the spot). The problem is that spot is on the wing unless Malhotra moves over.
Can he be a 4th liner?
To me, this is the question. I think he can, if he’s willing to accept the role. I don’t think your 4th line centre needs to be a fighter/big body checker. He could be effective in that role playing with Oreskovich/Hordichuk/Rypien on his wing.
What he needs to show
He needs to show that he can kill penalties, play good in his own end and provide some offense with plumbers on his wing. He’ll also need to be willing to play for about $800,000 or less.
Morrison would be a nice insurance policy should someone get injured, because he could slide into an offensive role. He’s also a BC boy which should provide some inspiration for a good season.