In June of last year the Stars announced that they were heading in a different direction with their head coach and promoted Texas Stars Glen Gulutzan to lead the Stars into the season. In November of that same year Tom Gagliardi finalized paperwork to take over the ownership of the Stars, who's bankruptcy had been concerning many Stars fans. It seemed as though Joe Nieuwendyk had all pieces in place to start the club on a fresh run to the playoffs. Fans were excited about a new owner willing to spend money on the right people, a new coach with a winning track record, a GM with a vested interest in the clubs current and future success, and a captain coming into the season with a career high 33 goals the previous season. If you had only known that much then the news of a possible Brenden Morrow trade may have come at a quite a shock.
Rumours of a Morrow trade have been gaining speed recently as several clubs have showed potential interest in the Stars captain. Currently signed till 2013 and with a no-trade clause in his contract, the chances of the captain leaving the Stars would be slim, particularly after Joe Nieuwenduk commenting that they had every intenttion of him being a Star next year. However it can be pondered that with only a year left in his contract and the injury woes he suffered last year, missing 25 games, that Morrow may be worth more to the Stars now than if left till free agency next season. Particularly with the moves and acquisitions this off-season that could potentially move the captain to the 3rd line.
I can't help but ponder, what does the word "captain" mean among fans and players of the NHL of late? Does a captain stir teammates to rise from a dark place to create opportunities and inspire victory? Or is a captain a man of stature and a club stalwart within a franchise? In recent weeks we have seen Zach Parise leave the New Jersey Devils whom he led to a Stanley Cup final. Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes is one of the biggest names on the free agency market this summer. Rick Nash, also with a no-trade clause in his contract, was shopped around by Columbus to find market value, and openly told the franchise that if a trade was for the greater good of the team then he would waive his no-trade clause. Our very own Jaromir Jagr took over the captaincy while at Pittsburgh when Mario Lemieux retired, but upon Mario's return the Pens informed Jagr that they could not afford to keep him, so he was ultimately traded to Washington.
Morrow certainly has been a stalwart of the club, taking the captaincy from Mike Modano in 2006. The injury last year to his neck and back certainly didn't allow him to post the same numbers as he would regularly hope to achieve. Will the injury prevent him from a stellar season this year, and if he were to be traded what pieces would he attract that Dallas has not yet acquired? I am confident that Joe, Glen, Tom, and the fans all believe that no-one else could, or should, lead them into this coming season.
With the addition of Jaromir Jagr, Ray Whitney, and the injured Derek Roy this summer, the Stars certainly are not short of experienced and proven leaders that could take on leadership roles within the club. There is no denying Morrow's numbers from the 2010-2011 season were some of his best. A career high 33 goals for that season shows that he has the playmaking ability, and Dallas has been his only NHL club since being drafted in the first round by the Stars in 1997. However, can a captain be replaced? Zach Parise believes so, but will Koivu share the same sentiment in Minnesota? Will Shane Doan leave Phoenix, or will he lead the Coyotes and their resurgence of fans to the playoffs yet again? But the most important question to Dallas Stars fans concerns their captain, Brenden Morrow, and if he will be our captain next year, or will he waive his no-trade clause for the greater good of the Dallas Stars?