Tuesday, May 20, 2008

2007-08 Rink Wrap: Shaone Morrisonn

From Backstrom to Steckel, we're taking a quick look at and grading the 2007-08 season for every player* who laced 'em up for the Caps during the campaign (and is still with the team) with an eye towards 2008-09. Next up, Shaone Morrisonn.

Contract Status: RFA; 2007-08 salary of $900,000
Age (as of October 1, 2008): 25
NHL Seasons (including 2007-08): 4+
2007-08 Regular Season Stats: 76 games played, 1 goal, 9 assists, +4, 63 PIMs
Key Stat: In 55 games under Bruce Boudreau, Morrisonn had a plus-14 rating.
Interesting Stat: Morrisonn had his best month, point-wise (4), in November, but it was also his worst month in plus/minus (-5).

The Good: Morrisonn was tied for third among Caps blueliners in hits and tied for second in takeaways. He skated the second most shifts per game on the team, was fourth in average ice time and still managed to cut his penalty minutes by more than 40% from last year, despite playing against opponents' top lines. As tough as they come, Mo played all seven games in the playoffs with a broken jaw and a separated shoulder. Oh, and he tied for the regular season team lead in percentage of faceoffs won.

The Bad: Morrisonn had only 47 shots on goal and an atrocious 2.1 shooting percentage, but when you're Mike Green's partner, it's not your job to score - it's your job to cover his butt. Still, Mo's offensive numbers declined for the second consecutive season on a team whose goal totals have risen at even strength (but declined on the power play) over that span, and he had the fewest points per minute of ice time on the team, as well as his personal career low in points per game (not including his 11-game 2002-03). Mo was second on the team in minor penalties, and got jumped by Vinny Lecavalier in his one fight of the year (which isn't necessarily bad on Mo, but I wanted to mention it, so there it is).

The Interview: Be sure to check out Garrett's post-season interview with Mo (parts I and II) over at Puckhead's Thoughts.

The Vote: Rate Morrisonn on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential 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 Questions: Is Morrisonn a legitimate number one shutdown defenseman? What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year?

If you've missed any of the previous 2007-08 Rink Wraps, click here, get caught up, and vote - polls will stay open for a while.

* And by "every," we mean every one who played more than just a handful of games.



1) We gave Morrisonn a 7. he had a very solid season, but he was projected to be a top 4 defensemen prior to the year so he played up to expectations.
2) Perhaps playing at a higher level defensively than last year, and definitely assisting Green to have his break out season. The team was not the same with him out of the lineup. Still, as was pointed out here he showed very little offensively.
3) As teams concentrated on Green, Morrison got more chances later in the season and didn't convert. Don't expect him to be Niedermayer, but some scoring touch would have been nice to see.
4) To get a 10, 'Mo' will have to continue to be in the top 2 pairing all season. Play on the PK, etc. Have an exceptional +/-, and also contribute a tad more offensively.

Tyler said...

I gave him a 7. I'd like to see that tandem increase their plus-minus next year.

JP said...

I forgot to ask it in the post, but how much (dollars and years) would you be willing to commit to keep Mo in DC?


1) Interesting question as to how much of a financial/length of contract/commitment the caps should give Shaone.
2) Other than his offense he has been pretty solid the past 2 seasons. Based on that it might be a good investment to offer him a longer term deal in the neighborhood of about 4 years 10 million.
3) A significant raise, but a reletively cheap cap-cost for a top 4 blueliner

the deuce said...

He, like many (most?) Caps blueliners, has to bulk up and learn to bang people in the corners and punish them in front to earn a 10. He's a decent stay at home defensemen who couldn't hit the side of a barn with his shot, which he rarely even attempts to put on net. But I realize he's young, so I'm willing to be patient. It's just too bad there's no Witt type to show these guys how to play mean. That's why it took us 3 games vs. the Flyers. Our D didn't realize they actually had to make opposing forwards pay for standing in front of/laying on top of Huet. Look at the all-world series Briere had against the Caps, and the disappearing act he pulled against the Pens (Prospal too) when they started to actually hit him. This is the main ingredient we are missing. Joe Finley, where are you? Have you learned to skate yet?

NS said...

i can't see him getting much more than the minimum RFA increase ($990,000?_.

MAX of 1.2mil, me thinks. and that might be pushing it....

NS said...

Mo is replaceable.

Although his reason for success/praise is due to his pairing with Green, it will work against him when it comes to $$$. Green will eat up most of the $$$.

Natty Bumpo said...

seems to me that much of mo's value comes because he compliments green as a stay-at-home defenseman.

any stats on green with and without mo? on mo with and without green?

along these lines, my vote is a 7 because i attribute at least a small portion of green's success to mo. his consistency in the back end allows green to be the gambler (more to the point, allows BB to LET green be a gambler).

Natty Bumpo said...

also, props for "being a hockey player" and suiting up with some significant injuries.

i disagree with NS. mo has proven to be a legit top-4, and those guys aren't easily replaced. especially considering he's just 25 years old on a young team.

second deuce's opinion that mo needs to get a little meaner. having never suited up myself, i can't know whether this can be learned...but seems to me that protecting the shooting lanes and clearing the crease should improve with experience?

breed16 said...

After the regular season, I'd have given him a 6. About what I expected; solid but unspectacular. Echoing previous posts I agree with: I want to see him play with more of a mean streak. Thought he would make that jump this year, but he did complement Green nicely and played very cautiously in covering. 4 years 10 million is insane...I see something along the lines of $1.5 million per, max.

I gave him a 7 though, because of his heroic playoff effort. A broken jaw AND a separated shoulder?!?! Holy moley.

My goodness! said...

Is Morrisonn a legitimate number one shutdown defenseman? Yeah, considering the fact that he had to cover a certain gunner's behind most of the time. So he played not only one defenseman's role, but one and a half.

What will it take for him to earn a 10 rating next year? More offense. But I am happy with his numbers as they are if he can free up Greener in a similar fashion in years to come.

I consider them a tandem and, together, their numbers were very, very good.

I gave him an 8. I wasn't sure what to expect from him out of this, his 'prove yourself' (to me) year, and I was impressed. I ALWAYS felt secure and confident when he was out there. Even when he was all alone, when Greener was behind the opposition's net. Mo did nothing stupid, no surprise brain cramps, no panic, and always very good positioning and anticipation.

Dollars? $1.5 for five years. And that's cheap for a top guy.

DMG said...

Like most, I gave Morrisonn a '7'. I figured in terms of defensive play and offensive output he was what I expected, but that his chemistry with Green is part of what helped Green have the season he did and that's worth some bonus points.

I don't think Morrisonn is quite a number on shutdown guy at this point, but I think it's a role he can play against most first lines. I think he has the physical skills to shut down anyone; it's just going to be a question of improving his agility and hockey sense.

However, if I'm in the Caps' brass I'm not necessarily looking at Morrisonn as a shutdown guy at the moment because I'd want him paired with Green. Longer term maybe the Capitals ought to pair Green with Morrisonn, Alzner or Poti and try and create a shutdown pairing from two of the four of Morrisonn, Alzner, Poti and Schultz.

b.orr4 said...

Can he become a #1? I doubt it, but he will be a very servicable top four defenseman for a long time. But any guy who is willing to have his jaw wired shut in order to play and then won't wear a cage has a spot on my team.

Natty Bumpo said...

more impressed by mo playing with his jaw wired than by mo playing without a cage.

NS said...

Faux - how many of there are you? (i always think of Venom or Carnage when i read "we think..." in your posts)

and, no way Mo is worth 2.5mil. Not with our upcoming signings and pipeline of talent.

Jimmy Jazz said...

Mo and Green complement each other's games nicely. I gave Mo a seven.

b.orr4 said...

natty bumpo, he got his jaw wired AND then refused to wear a cage to protect it (against doctor's orders).

Natty Bumpo said...

b.orr4: i'm clear on that. but don't understand why it's a virtue ("a spot on my team") to refuse protective gear.

guts and accountability to play through pain = good.

machismo and stupidity to ignore doctor's orders = not as good.

Natty Bumpo said...

Chris Clark

Ogre said...

I gave him a 7. I never liked Morrisonn, to the point where in my NHL 2008 franchises at the start of the year, I traded him. By the end of the year, I was trading back for him, because this year the kid became one of my favorites.

He earned 2.5 mil a year, JP, imo. I think that his +/- will only improve next year, EVEN IF HE STAYS at his current level of play. Mike Green getting better will improve both +/-'s.

Morrisonn is the kind of player who stats other than +/- don't mean anything for. +14 was good. A +50 next year gets him a 10 in my book.
To earn a 5, I want +25.

Anonymous said...

I give Morrisonn a 4, but I suppose I have a different expectation than most. Don't really care about Morrisonn contributing offensively, it's not his job. I realize that I am in the minority in thinking this, but I thought his defense was average. He's more of a positional defenseman than a physical one, but he needs to improve the physical presence on the ice. The team doesn't need him to be a bruiser, but stronger overall (If you lose a behind-the-net battle to Glen Metropolit, you need to work on your physical game).

I like Morrisonn and I think he has a solid future ahead of him. It's also true that he gets put in some bad situations with Mike Green hauling tail up to the other end of the ice. That said, I'd still like Morrisonn to tighten up significantly in his own end - he has the speed and size to be a truly effective defensive player, but he's not there yet.

- Empty

Tyler said...

Ah the anonymice: "I give Morrisonn a 4... I thought his defense was average. He's more of a positional defenseman than a physical one, but he needs to improve the physical presence on the ice."

I wonder what s/he would give Nick Lidstrom?

Tyler said...

In a related story:

Lidstrom: 23 hits
Morrisonn: 94 hits

JP said...

That wasn't anonymous - it was signed "Empty," and I agree, in part, with the assertion that Mo's defensive skills are slightly overrated by the fan base.

I still gave him a 6, though.

bigonetimer said...

I gave him an 8 for the year because he played beyond expectations and he is a tough SOB, a perfect partner for Greenie. Looking back to the cheapshot elbow he took from Upshall right in the side of the head (which precipitated Green's fight), and I admire his guts even more.

For him to get a 10 next year will be tough because the expectations are up there now, but if he evolves into a true shutdown guy that'll do it for me. Love to see 5G/15A/+15

That said, he's not gonna get paid #1 shutdown guy money this year, so how about 3yr/6.5M? [As an aside, after getting Huet, Green, et al. signed, I think it's the number one offseason priority for GMGM to go after another potential top 4 D-man...Orpik from PIT, anyone?]