The Blues have a reputation to uphold this season. One of grit, tenacity, a will to work hard where others will not. The team is still young, but its core leadership - its homegrown guys - they are old enough to know what it takes to get to the playoffs.
Unfortunately, the home grown guys don't have the experience that it takes to get past the second round.
Word has leaked out that the Blues are interested in free agent forward Brenden Morrow, formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Dallas Stars. Playing for the Stars for twelve and a half years, he has ties with Ken Hitchcock, Doug Armstrong, and Brett Hull. In his glory days, the best he was good for was 74 points (32 goals and 42 assists in '07-'08). He's defensively responsible when he's on a good team, and he knows what it takes to be successful.
He's also on the St. Louis Blues.
The Blues have just signed Morrow for one year, $1.5 million. He will more than likely fit in on the third line somewhere, and it's a good fit. He's the kind of player that the Blues covet - and the kind of player that Ken Hitchcock loves. He's a worker. He's a good fit for the team and will be productive for them. In Pittsburgh he was nearly a point per game player.
The issue is where in the world does he fit? The Blues now have 32 forwards in camp. Sergey Andronov, Keith Aucoin, Demitrij Jaskin, and Ty Rattie - all of whom have had a good pre-season so far - will be joining the Wolves in Chicago soon. The Blues are now directly on the cap with no room to spare, so not only is there a logjam at forward, there's also a logjam on the books.
Which of the usual suspects does Morrow replace? Chris Porter or Adam Cracknell, one assumes. This is breaking up a dynamic fourth line and demoting one of our current third liners. On paper, the line-up will be outstanding. From a team chemistry viewpoint, what happens? Does this add to it, or are the Blues messing with what works?
I like Brenden Morrow, and this is a low-risk, high reward move for the Blues. I'm less concerned about what this does to team chemistry than what it says about team leadership. This was the year that the local guys were going to step up. David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Alexander Steen - the top line are the guys. Barret Jackman. Alex Pietrangelo. How much leadership do you need on one team? Adding Morrow means that they either want to add to that or shore it up. It's enough to make one wonder where exactly the gap is. Did the loss of Andy McDonald and Scott Nichol necessitate a replacement after all?
Brenden Morrow is a good player. This is a good move, but it leaves many questions unanswered.