PITTSBURGH (AP) — Brenden Morrow needed a compelling reason to waive his no-trade clause and leave the Dallas Stars after 14 years. Morrow required only one.
Still, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ray Shero didn't want to risk it. His pitch to the veteran forward went something like this: you get a chance to revive your career. You get to play alongside the reigning NHL MVP. Oh, and then there's the opportunity to make a serious run at your first Stanley Cup.
Morrow joined the Penguins on Monday, leaving behind his wife and three children and the only NHL team he's ever known for the chance to raise the Cup while playing for one of hockey's most talented teams.
"I'm looking forward to a new challenge and see if I get a boost from a new team, which I'm sure I'm going to with the skill this team has," Morrow said.
One that is apparently going "all-in" for a championship. A day after acquiring Morrow in exchange for defensive prospect Joe Morrow, the Penguins traded a pair of draft picks to San Jose for hulking defenseman Doug Murray.
Adding Morrow and Murray give the Penguins depth, size and experience, all key ingredients to making a deep postseason run.
"We have a good mix of young guys, skilled players and grit," Shero said.
It could be potent for a team that sits atop the Eastern Conference and has ripped off 12 straight wins heading into Tuesday night's game with Montreal. And it hasn't just all been Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Penguins have suddenly blossomed from irresponsible to confident on defense. Pittsburgh has allowed just nine goals in the last eight games of its run, the fewest allowed in the NHL over that span.
Don't expect those numbers to go up with Morrow creating havoc on both ends of the ice. Though he's scored 243 career goals and racked up 528 career points he's become more of a two-way player late in his career. The 34-year-old had just six goals and five assists in 29 games with Dallas this season, a downturn due in part to his demotion to the fourth line.
That won't be the case in Pittsburgh, where Morrow will work alongside Malkin and former Stars teammate James Neal.
"He'll do anything to win," Neal said of Morrow. "He's got a good shot, he knows how to work around the net and do a lot of damage on rebounds. He does a lot of little things."
Morrow admitted it was a little strange to wake up in Dallas on Monday morning, kiss his wife and children goodbye and board a plane bound for Pittsburgh. The Dallas captain knew the rebuilding Stars were looking to move him, but seeing his name on a placard in the Penguins dressing room could take some getting used to.