Fantasy Impact: The Blackhawks have traded for veteran center Brendan Morrison from the Calgary Flames for defensive prospect Brian Connelly.
The Blackhawks get: a veteran center who was good about two ACL’s ago. Morrison was once a speedy, reliable two-way playmaker, but a few serious knee injuries have taken away any speed he once possessed. He’s bounced around Calgary’s lineup, playing anywhere from line one, to line four, to press box duty. Morrison is still a creative player, but he’s too small and too slow to be effective at the NHL level.
For the Hawks, this is a low risk move. They still have time to go out and get a legitimate second line center like Mikhail Grabovski or Derek Roy if Morrison fails in the second line role. And if he succeeds, it will turn out to be a very shrewd move.
The Flames get: a proven AHL point producer in Connelly. He wasn’t given much of a shot at the NHL level with Chicago (in fact, he has yet to play a regular season NHL game). Connelly has 36 points in 41 AHL games this season. Calgary may give him a look down the stretch if they fall far back of playoff contention. He had 11 goals and 52 points in 2011-12 for Rockford.
This is a good move for Calgary. Clears a bit of a log jam at center, and it nets them a really good AHL defenseman with some offensive upside.
Fantasy players impacted: In the short term, Morrison will get a look on the second line. Kane and Sharp are both better on the wing. Frolik, too. Brandon Pirri and Marcus Kruger are both not ready for second line NHL duties yet, especially on a team with cup hopes.
Morrison will realistically slide in on Chicago’s fourth line, and he should see some time on the second power play unit (for faceoffs, mostly).
Connelly should get the call up at some point this season to show Calgary what he can do at the NHL level.
Players this helps (in order):
3. Matt Stajan (less competition)
4. Mikael Backlund (see above, although he was probably safe)
Players this hurts (in order):
1. Pirri (short term)
2. Kruger (short term)