From Alzner to Varlamov, we're taking a look at and grading (please read the criteria below) the 2009-10 season for every player who laced 'em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2010-11. Next up, Brendan Morrison.
#9 / Center / Washington Capitals
Aug 15, 1975
UFA ($1,500,000 cap hit in 2009-10)
Key Stat: Morrison had 23 points in his first 29 games as a Cap, but just 20 points (and a measly three goals) in his next 50.
Interesting Stat: Morrison had a plus-23 rating on the road and an even rating at home in 2009-10.
The Good: Morrison's season started out well (as noted above), and helped propel him towards his highest point total since 2006-07 (when he had 20 goals and 51 points for the Canucks). His plus-23 rating was a career best, and he positively feasted on the Southeast, posting 19 points (10 of which came against the Panthers) in 23 divisional games. He ended the season with a 51.2 win percentage in draws, and managed to finish third on the team in assists-per-60 at five-aside (behind Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin). And he did this, which was pretty damn cool:
The Bad: Morrison seemed to hit a wall in December and his offensive production tanked to the point where he scored just two goals on his final 56 shots of the season after the gem above (to put that in perspective, that 3.57 shooting percentage on its own would have trailed Quintin Laing). Of course, BMo's slow-down might have also been the result of less frequent match-ups against Florida - take away his season numbers against the Kitties and he had just 33 points in 73 games; take away his stats against the Southeast Division and he had just 24 points in 56 games. You get the point. On the power play, Morrison had fewer points-per-sixty at 5-on-4 than any other forward on the team, and was done scoring power-play goals on December 3, and his discipline overall wasn't particularly good either - only Mike Knuble and Alexander Semin took minors at a higher rate at 5-on-5 (and both had better penalty plus-minuses - that is, they drew more than they took - than Morrison). He showed some signs of life later in the season (a three-point game against - you guessed it - Florida and a plus-four outing just prior to the Olympics in Ottawa), but ultimately Morrison just ran out of gas and was completely ineffective (along with the rest of the second line) come playoff time.
The Vote: Rate Morrison below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.
The Discussion: Is there a price at which Brendan Morrison should be back for 2010-11, and, if so, in what role? What will it take for him to earn a 10 next season?