Why did he never pan out in the NHL? He had all the talent he worked hard didn't have attitude problems. Was it wrong place wrong time with the penguins? He went from a 3rd to 4th Liner behind a lot of talent to a 1st/2nd Liner on a bad team (well not a bad team but all the injuries hit it).
He was extremely streaky (at times looking like one of the best players in the league, only to follow that with 30+ games without scoring) and weak on the puck. Still a favorite of mine growing up...but he'd still be a fringe top six guy in the NHL today had he stuck with things...but he stayed in Russia for three times as much money as he'd ever make in the NHL and got to be Russia's biggest homegrown star in Russia for a few years.
I remember him saying something about only wanting to play for the Penguins in the NHL, and when the Penguins didn't offer him a contract heading into or out of the lockout he just stayed in Russia. Still one of my favorite moments of the dark ages was his overtime winning goal against Carolina and the ensuing crest grab.
“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent. If we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death, our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” - Stanley Kubrick
Yeah he looked like he could have a few years as a 30 goal 40 assist forward over here, vs being the leagues top player in Russia.
Also keep in mind coming off the lockout year which he played in Russia, he was a UFA in a $39M cap league. Maybe he would have stayed if he could have gotten a $4M contract but there were few teams with the cap space to sign him at that, but they had no problems paying him in Russia.
I remember him saying something about only wanting to play for the Penguins in the NHL, and when the Penguins didn't offer him a contract heading into or out of the lockout he just stayed in Russia.
He signed in Russia while still under contract with the Pens, without an out clause in case the lockout would end early. Must have rankled Craig Patrick enough to not even give him a QO the following summer (and the Pens were already bringing in Recchi, Palffy and LeClair anyway). So Morozov became a UFA and never returned. With his playing style and skill set he could've become another Brad Boyes maybe.