After reading that the Sabres signed Shaone Morrisonn (pronounced Shawn Morrisonn, in case you were wondering) I bet many of you Googled his name to find out who he was. Then I bet your second reaction was to be flabbergasted how many unnecessary letters there are in his name. Then, your thrid reaction, after viewing his stats, was probably to be less angry about cutting Tim Kennedy, because Morrisonn is a solid, veteran defenseman who can fill the defensive hole left by the departure of Henrik Tallinder and Toni Lydman.
The 27-year-old Morrisonn was a former first round draft pick by Boston in 2001 but was traded to Washington in '03; he is also a former Portland Pirate, from the days when the Pirates were still the Capitals affiliate, though he's been up with the Capitals since the lockout. His contract is for two years and he signed for an undisclosed amount.
As you can see from his stats, Morrisonn will probably not solve our power play problems. What those stats won't tell you is that Morrisonn led the Capitals in both hits and blocked shots, with 163 hits, and 104 blocked shots. Add his 17:34 of ice time and +8 rating to those two stats, and you have a solid, stay-at-home defender who isn't afraid to take you into the boards or sacrifice his body. Something tells me this guy will be popular in Buffalo pretty quickly.
More analysis after the jump.
Much of what is to follow comes from Jasper's Rink's excellent season summary of Shaone Morrisonn, and you can check that out by clicking these words. Some of the highlights from their wrap-up include:
- Morrisonn played with a number of defenseman all season, finally settling on Joe Corvo as a linemate. Corvo is not exactly known as a fantastic defender, but Morrisonn was a steady presence behind him that allowed him to play his risky brand of defense.
- He increased his hits per game last season to 2.4 up from a 1.54 in 2008-09. He's also quick to jump into a scrum and isn't afraid to drop the gloves.
- As you can plainly tell, Morrisonn has almost no offensive ability whatsoever. He's never scored more than 3 goals and 14 points in a season, so he's strictly a defensive defenseman. The good news there is that he's never had a negative plus/minus rating, even when playing for the terrible post-lockout Caps.
- He was part of the second unit PK for the Caps, and should see some time there for Buffalo as well, perhaps to save wear and tear on the aging Rivet? He saw almost no power play time, and apparently has trouble getting his shots through to the net.
So there you have it, Sabres fans. At this point we've effectively traded Kennedy for Morrisonn, though as of this writing Kennedy is still unclaimed. At this point I'm done trying to guess whether these were both setup moves for a major push for an RFA/trade or whether this is all she wrote. We'll know tomorrow when the Sabres (will hopefully) hold a presser sometime after Kennedy's 12pm waiver clearance. Feel free to voice your opinion or just vent on a puzzling day in the comments.