Shane O'Brien hopes to stay in Vancouver

Obrien1.jpgShane O’Brien is an enigma. At times capable of inspiring shut-down
defense while at other times letting his emotions take control and
putting himself and his teammates in some bad situations.

When the
coaches came down on him in the series against the Kings for being
perhaps a bit too agitating, he responded with some solid play. Of
course, like the rest of the Canucks, he failed to use that same emotion
and physicality when they needed it most against the Blackhawks.

Now,
as he approaches restricted free agency this summer, he’s hoping to
avoid the arbitration process. He says he’d love to have secure contract
but that he’d be more than willing to come in and play as hard as he
can for the Canucks if he’s offered just a one-year deal.

Talking
to the media, per Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun, O’Brien says
avoiding arbitration would probably be best for all involved:

“Hopefully I don’t have to go to arb and, from what I heard, it’s not
a pleasant process,” he said. “They’ve probably got a lot of material
they can use against me so it probably wouldn’t work too well.”

“I think I could be an even better player if I had a little bit more
leeway,” O’Brien stated. “If you make a mistake, or have a bad game,
they stick with you and you don’t have to worry about sitting in the
press box.”

After last season’s temporary exile and the off the ice issues he’s
dealt with while with Vancouver, it’s doubtful that the team is willing
to make multi-season commitment. They’d likely prefer to give O’Brien
one more season to prove that the weight and the maturity issues are
gone, and since they cropped up just a month ago I’m sure the problems
are still fresh on the minds of the front office.

And while O’Brien may prefer to come back to the Canucks, you have to
wonder if living somewhere other than Vancouver would be best for the
problems he’s had in the past.

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    Habs address blueline, acquire Schlemko from Vegas

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    Having already moved on from Nathan Beaulieu, Alexei Emelin and Mikhail Sergachev, the Habs continued to remodel their defense on Thursday by acquiring David Schlemko from Vegas.

    Schlemko, who spent last season with the Sharks, was acquired by the Golden Knights at last night’s expansion draft. Vegas will receive Montreal’s fifth-round pick in 2019 as part of the deal.

    Signed to a four-year, $8.4 million deal last summer, Schlemko had high expectations in San Jose. GM Doug Wilson trumpeted him as a “solid puck-moving defenseman” and while Schlemko did show it at times, he also had his low points.

    He was a healthy scratch midway through the year, and missed some time with a lower-body injury. All told, he had 18 points in 62 games, while averaging 16:45 TOI per night.

    It’s unlikely that Habs GM Marc Bergevin is done here. While Schlemko is a decent pickup, he’s only one of five d-men under contract for next season, along with Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Brandon Davidson and Jordie Benn. Andrei Markov is an unrestricted free agent, and it’s unclear if he’ll be brought back.

    Related: Vegas has 15 d-men, but won’t keep them all

     

    Kings add ‘tremendous all-around teacher’ Nachbaur to coaching staff

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    John Stevens has added a familiar face to his coaching staff.

    On Thursday, the L.A. Kings announced the hiring of Don Nachbaur as an assistant coach.

    Nachbaur has spent the last seven seasons as bench boss of the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs. He has worked with Stevens before, although it’s been a while.

    Their paths crossed during their playing days with the Philadelphia Flyers and American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears in the late 1980s. After that, they coached together with the Philadelphia Phantoms in the AHL. Nachbaur was an assistant coach with the Phantoms for two seasons (2000-01 and 2001-02) while Stevens was the head coach.

    They made the playoffs both years but didn’t go beyond the second round.

    “Don is a great addition to our coaching staff. I personally have known him 30-plus years,” said Stevens. “I played with him and have coached alongside him. He has played the game at a high level and he is a tremendous all-around teacher who is very well-rounded.”

    Nachbaur joins a Kings staff that includes assistant coach Dave Lowry and goaltending coach Bill Ranford.

    Here’s the new first-round draft order

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    A week ago, we released the full order of selections for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

    Well, some stuff has happened since.

    So here’s the new order for the first round, which will be selected Friday evening at United Center in Chicago:

    1. New Jersey Devils
    2. Philadelphia Flyers
    3. Dallas Stars
    4. Colorado Avalanche
    5. Vancouver Canucks
    6. Vegas Golden Knights
    7. Arizona Coyotes
    8. Buffalo Sabres
    9. Detroit Red Wings
    10. Florida Panthers
    11. Los Angeles Kings
    12. Carolina Hurricanes
    13. Vegas Golden Knights (from Winnipeg)
    14. Tampa Bay Lightning
    15. Vegas Golden Knights (from NY Islanders)
    16. Calgary Flames
    17. Toronto Maple Leafs
    18. Boston Bruins
    19. San Jose Sharks
    20. St. Louis Blues
    21. New York Rangers
    22. Edmonton Oilers
    23. Arizona Coyotes (from Minnesota)
    24. Winnipeg Jets (from Columbus via Vegas)
    25. Montreal Canadiens
    26. Chicago Blackhawks
    27. St. Louis Blues (from Washington)
    28. Ottawa Senators
    29. Dallas Stars (from Anaheim)
    30. Nashville Predators
    31. Pittsburgh Penguins

    That order could still change, as there’s been plenty of speculation that some of the top picks could be in play.

    Are teams like the Devils, Flyers, and Stars willing to deal?

    We’ll find out soon.

    Trade: Isles get Eberle from Edmonton for Strome

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    Everyone knew this was going to be a massive offseason for Islanders GM Garth Snow.

    And Snow has now responded in kind.

    Per TSN, the Isles are on the verge of acquiring Jordan Eberle from Edmonton. No word yet on what’s headed to New York in return. Sportsnet has confirmed the move, saying all involved parties are being informed of the move.

    Update: Ryan Strome headed to Edmonton in exchange, per TSN’s Darren Dreger.

    The move comes after weeks of speculation about Eberle’s future with the Oilers. He had a solid regular season in Edmonton, with 20 goals and 51 points through 82 games, but struggled mightily in the postseason. He went scoreless through 13 games, finishing with just two points while watching his ice time dwindle to 14:32 per night.

    Eberle is still a quality offensive talent, though, and should be thrilled about the prospect of playing with Isles captain John Tavares. Tavares, in turn, will undoubtedly be pleased with Snow’s bold move to bring in additional scoring up front, which could go a long way towards signing an extension with the Isles.

    It’s safe to assume Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will feel some heat for this deal. While he did get out from under Eberle’s contract — $6 million annually for each of the next two years — Strome is coming off a disappointing year, and was exposed by the Isles at last night’s expansion draft.

    That said, Chiarelli does have bigger fish to fry. Connor McDavid, the Hart Trophy winner, is eligible to sign an extension soon. Ditto for Leon Draisaitl.

    Needless to say, those two contracts could be rather large.