Northwest Hockey Player: Brendan Morrison
The pride of Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Brendan Morrison is living proof that size doesn’t always matter in pro hockey. He may be undersized at 5’11” and 185 pounds but he’s enjoyed an excellent career at the junior, college and NHL level.
Morrison played his junior hockey with the Penticton Panthers in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League, capturing the Rookie of the Year Award.
The New Jersey Devils liked what they saw and drafted him in the second round of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, 39th overall.
Morrison didn’t turn pro right away. Instead, he went the college hockey route and became one of the NCAA’s all-time greats. He played four outstanding seasons with the Michigan Wolverines, winning the national championship in 1996. He captured the Hobey Baker Award as U.S. college hockey’s top player as a senior in 1997, tallying 88 points in 43 games.
He finished as Michigan’s all-time scoring leader.
Upon turning pro, it didn’t take long for Morrison to ascend to the NHL. He made the Devils late in 1997-98 after a dominant season with the AHL’s Albany River Rats. He was a full-timer with New Jersey the next season, finishing second in rookie scoring with 46 points.
The following season, Morrison’s dream came true. He went home to B.C. He was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in the Alexander Mogilny deal. Morrison’s career blossomed after that.
He spent much of his prime with the Canucks and formed what many people considered the NHL’s premiere line with Markus Naslund and Todd Bertuzzi in the early to mid-2000s.
Morrison hit the 20-goal mark four times, the 50-point mark six times and had a career-high 71 points in 2002-03.
Morrison later spent time with the Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars and Washington Capitals. At 36 years old, he’s done his prime years, but he’s playing a highly productive role with the Calgary Flames.
He gelled with Jarome Iginla last season to become a first-line scorer in the second half of last season. (The Canucks had brought him back in during training camp for a tryout, but let him walk)
Could his best season still lie ahead?