The New Jersey Devils signed a new defenseman. No, this is not a defenseman that will jettison Mirco Mueller from the lineup or provide something that the New Jersey roster does not need. This is a depth signing. The Devils announced earlier today that they signed defenseman Joe Morrow to a two-way contract for one season. Per the team, he will get paid at a rate of $700,000 for the season in New Jersey and a rate of $250,000 for the season when he is with Binghamton. The Devils have already placed Morrow on waivers so he can be transferred to Binghamton when he clears.
Needless to say, this is purely for depth. Which makes sense as Morrow has only stuck around in the NHL for a few seasons and even then was not a regular player. Check out his Elite Prospects page for a quick history. Yes, he was originally drafted by Pittsburgh and spent time with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2012-13. But the Pens moved him to Dallas as part of a deal to bring Brendan Morrow to Pittsburgh. And Morrow’s time in Dallas was short as he was a throw in as part of the big trade that brought Tyler Seguin to the Big D. He made his NHL debut with Boston and stayed with the B’s for three seasons. He hit the market in 2017, signed for a season with Montreal, and then signed with Winnipeg in the following season. Morrow was not retained by either team and did not get an offer during the summer. He joined Our Hated Rivals on a professional try-out basis in 2019. He did not make the team. Needless to say, the market has spoken and it has declared that Morrow is not really a NHL player anymore at age 26.
So why make the signing? This is for Binghamton, who also announced the signing on their official website. Offering him a NHL two-way deal may have been the cost of doing business. At least including the possibility of making it back to the NHL may have been a demand. The Devils certainly could afford it. After the signing, they still have six contract spots open and over $5.6 million in cap space for this season per CapFriendly.
It also strengthens the call-up depth for the defense. Morrow shoots left. I presume he would play on the left side. Should there be an injury to Butcher, Greene, or Mueller, the Devils options were only Colton White, Colby Sissons, Dakota Mermis, and Jeremy Groleau. It is hardly a lot of quality and Groleau is brand new to professional hockey. Adding Morrow to that at leads adds a veteran option for call-up purposes. Morrow may not be all that and a bag of chips. He has never been a productive defender nor does he appear to be a 5-on-5 play driver per Natural Stat Trick. He at least has played in 162 NHL games and he has been spending time between the ‘A’ and the ‘N’ in past seasons. He knows what it likes to be called up and what the general expectations would be. He’ll hopefully be able to handle spot duty should he be called upon. It is not much to get excited for, but there is that.
This is a minor signing but it is notable in that it is the first signing of the 2019-20 season. If nothing else, Morrow can claim a bit of trivia with the Devils. Please do not claim that Morrow is an answer or that Morrow will replace Mueller or that Morrow should be in the lineup on Wednesday ASAP PDQ and other abbreviations. This is a move for Binghamton and depth. Hopefully it will help them out as they start their season. Please let me know what you think of Morrow in the comments. Thank you for reading.