Late last week when the Boston Bruins made a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes and sent Aaron Ward back home in exchange for Patrick Eaves and a fourth round draft pick, it seemed like the deal was just a simple salary dump. The Bruins looked to be in desperate need to free up cap space so that they could re-sign last year's leading goal scorer, Phil Kessel.
But looks can be deceiving. Boston immediately went the free agency route and signed Derek Morris to a one year contract. In essence, they wanted to replace Ward with a puck-moving, scoring threat. Did they make a wise decision?
|2008 - Aaron Ward||65||3||7||10||16||44||0||1||0||0||53||5.7|
|2008 - Derek Morris||75||5||15||20||-10||40||0||1||0||0||120||4.2|
Obviously, Morris is more offensively inclined than Ward is. While both defensemen finished with about the same number of blocked shots last season, (Ward 124, Morris 128), Ward had 151 hits compared to 83 for Morris.
There is one thing the stat lines won't tell you. Aaron Ward has won three Stanley Cup Championships. Derek Morris, not so much. We will see how it works out for the Bruins.
If nothing else, "Wardo" now has cause for some extra incentive to perform well whenever he faces his ex-teammates.
(Stanley Cup of Chowder has a nice tribute to Aaron in this article.)