2010 NHL Free Agency: What about … Patrick O'Sullivan?

Thumbnail image for osullivan.jpgAt this point in free agency, the focus shifts from the gems to flawed guys who can still bring some skill to the table. So, going forward, we’ll spotlight individual players who are flying under the radar.

Previous Entries: Slava Kozlov, Alex Frolov, Willie Mitchell, Lee Stempniak, Maxim Afinogenov

Today’s entry: Patrick O’Sullivan

Name: Patrick O’Sullivan
Height: 5-11 Weight: 190
Position: C
Strengths: Fairly versatile, not afraid to shoot, decent goal scorer
Weaknesses: Consistency, play without the puck, attitude, defensive indifference, size

Most of the people I’ve spotlighted in this feature are either approaching their 30’s are already there. After all, this is the period in NHL free agency in which general managers are more or less trying to decide if a dented but discounted can of green beans will go bad before they make dinner that night.

O’Sullivan is in some cases that dented can. He’s far from defensively adept, even if that cool looking photo up above might give that impression. While I’m not a huge proponent of the stat, it’s still telling that he had a minus rating in every season of his four year NHL career, including a horrific -35 last season and an ugly -55 overall. You won’t find him winning more battles than most (and not just because he’s small). There has been some talk that he might not be the best locker room guy, either.

Still, at 25, it’s surprising that some GM or coach hasn’t fallen into that “I can change him” trap at this point.

osullivanbeatsturco.jpgHe seems to have some skill, for one thing. You can understand why his agent’s phone isn’t ringing off the hook – his last two season totals for goals were 11 and 16 – but he’s already hit the 22-goal mark once in his career.

The way I see it, his agent should convince him to take a cheapo one-year contract with a contender and hypnotize him into being a team player. He might not ever challenge for the Selke, but if you put him in the right situation, he could be a good “bang for the buck” guy.

Take the Pittsburgh Penguins, for example. If GM Ray Shero thinks that their tight knit locker room would keep him in line, O’Sullivan could be a nice low-budget option along the lines of Petr Sykora. The one thing that stands out about O’Sullivan is that – while he doesn’t connect often – he’s not afraid to take shots. His 191 SOG was solid for 73 games last season, but in full years he shot an above-average 200, 259 and 220 times. Whether they line him up with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, he could be a good fit as an OK finisher running shotgun with a primer passer.

Would he be the perfect guy for the Penguins or anyone else? Absolutely not, but most teams waved goodbye to “perfect” long ago. He comes with some risks, but at the right price, I must ask … what about Patrick O’Sullivan?

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    Goalie nods: Bernier has a ‘huge’ opportunity to prove himself vs. Caps

    Jonathan Bernier
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    Jonathan Bernier hasn’t been very good in ’15-16, but he’ll have a great opportunity to right the ship on Saturday night.

    Facing the Washington Capitals is never an easy task if you’re a goaltender, of course, but Bernier can’t afford to be picky with his chances.

    The 27-year-old is still looking for his first win of the season, as he has an overall record of 0-7-1. His 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage are just as bad as his record.

    Starter James Reimer is out tonight after suffering an injury in practice and although Bernier probably can’t win the starting job with just one good game, a solid performance would go a long way.

    He’ll go head-to-head with Capitals goalie Braden Holtby.


    Cory Schneider will face the Habs for the second time in two nights. The Canadiens are expected to go with Dustin Tokarski, but that hasn’t been confirmed. Montreal beat New Jersey, 3-2, in a shootout on Friday.

    -The Islanders have yet to confirm a starter, but they’ll likely go up against Ben Bishop on Saturday night.

    -Expect Linus Ullmark to go up against Pekka Rinne when the Sabres and Predators clash in Nashville. Rinne is on a season-high four-game losing streak.

    -The Oilers may turn to Anders Nilsson against the Penguins. Pittsburgh will decide between giving Marc-Andre Fleury two starts in two nights or going with Jeff Zatkoff.

    -The Stars, like Pittsburgh, will have to decide if they want to give Antti Niemi a second game in two nights. They will be going up against Devan Dubnyk and the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

    Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start in Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues. He was solid in a 2-1 OT win over the Penguins on Friday night. The Blues will counter with starter Jake Allen.

    -The Jets have yet to confirm a starter in Denver. They’ll be going up against Semyon Varlamov, who was pulled in Wednesday’s game against Ottawa after he allowed three goals on 15 shots.

    Craig Anderson will look to win his fifth straight game when the Senators take on Arizona. The ‘Yotes still haven’t named a starter.

    Jonas Hiller is likely to get the start against San Jose, while the Sharks will definitely be countering with starter Martin Jones. The Sharks goaltender is coming off a loss to the ‘Hawks, but previously won five in a row.

    Scott Darling will put his 2-2-1 record on the line against the Kings. Jonathan Quick will probably be between the pipes for the Kings. Quick has a 7-15-1 record against the ‘Hawks in his career.

    The verdict is in: Dubinsky gets one game for cross-checking Crosby


    Brandon Dubinsky has been suspended one game for his cross-check to the back of Sidney Crosby‘s neck.

    The incident took place during the second period of Friday’s game.

    Crosby did head to the locker room after the play, but he was able to return.

    When deciding on the number of games to give Dubinsky, here’s what the NHL took into account:

    1. Dubinsky delivered a clear cross-check.
    2. Dubinsky has been fined before, but never suspended.
    3. Crosby wasn’t seriously injured on the play.

    “In this case, while Dubinsky’s cross-check isn’t overly violent or forceful, it is an intentional strike to an opponent’s head using his stick,” the NHL said in their explanation of the play. “This is not a case where the head contact was caused by a sudden movement by Crosby or by a stick riding up a player’s back or shoulders and making subsequent contact with the head.”

    Click on the video at the top of the page to watch the NHL’s full explanation.

    The Blue Jackets take on the Blues in St. Louis tonight.

    Ready to Roll: Oilers activate Schultz from IR, send down Reinhart

    Justin Schultz
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    The Edmonton Oilers activated defenseman Justin Schultz off injured reserve and assigned Griffin Reinhart to the minors.

    Schultz has missed the last 14 games because of a back injury, but he’ll suit up in Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

    The 25-year-old has one assist and a minus-6 rating in nine games in ’15-16.

    Here’s his interview with Oilers TV from earlier today:

    Reinhart was acquired in an off-season trade with the New York Islanders this summer.

    The former fourth overall pick has no points and a minus-1 rating in 12 games with the Oilers.

    The Leafs will be without Reimer on Saturday

    James Reimer
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    James Reimer (lower body) won’t be available to play in Saturday’s game against Washington.

    Reimer was injured during a team practice earlier this week and although the injury didn’t appear to be serious, it will prevent him from suiting up in at least one game.

    The Leafs originally thought that the 27-year-old would be good to go for this tilt, but head coach Mike Babcock said Reimer didn’t feel good enough to play.

    Reimer’s emerged as the go-to-guy for the Maple Leafs this season and for good reason.

    He has 7-3-4 record with a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage in 15 games.

    Another reason the Leafs have been counting on him so much is because Jonathan Bernier‘s been awful.

    Bernier will get another opportunity to prove himself on Saturday night, but he faces a stiff test against Alex Ovechkin and company.

    The 27-year-old has an 0-7-1 record with a 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage in ’15-16.

    In a corresponding move, the Leafs sent defenseman Scott Harrington to the minors and recalled goalie Garret Sparks.

    Sparks was Toronto’s seventh round pick in 2011.

    The 22-year-old has an 8-2-1 record with the Toronto Marlies this season.