For a team in playoff contention, trading a major piece of your club's success at the trade deadline seems unthinkable. It only seems a bit more crazy when that piece is your captain. But that's perhaps what the Dallas Stars and general manager Joe Nieuwendyk face this year with forward Brenden Morrow.
As competitive as the Stars are right now with Morrow in the lineup, there is a sense their best years are still ahead of them and if the yield is a significant package that makes them younger and better in the long haul, perhaps it's something that the Stars might consider. That said, dealing with players who have an NTC can be tricky and sensitive at the best of times.
One source in Dallas suggested they are "probably not" going to move him before the deadline but that didn't shut the door tight on the notion either, especially if a lot of teams come calling with intriguing offers.
The first obstacle, as pointed out by Stars blog Defending Big D, is Morrow's no-trade clause. The 33-year-old has to accept any trade that's put in front of him, and for a guy who has played his entire career in one spot, with family roots now firmly in place and a team that's still in playoff contention under his guidance, that might be a tough sell.
It's a delicate balance to walk between letting go a key piece of the team now while still trying to build for the future, but that's what Nieuwendyk is faced with, and that's why a Morrow trade seems plausible. Well, if he'll agree to one.