James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.

Blue Jackets sign William Karlsson, need time for Seth Jones deal


The Columbus Blue Jackets signed would-be RFA William Karlsson to a two-year contract on Thursday.

While the team didn’t explicitly state that it’s a $2 million deal in their release, they re-tweeted Rob Mixer of their website stating that it’s worth $1 million for each of the next two seasons.

The Swede generated 20 points in 81 games during 2015-16, his first full season with the Blue Jackets. As the 53rd pick of the 2011 NHL Draft, there’s some potential for growth going forward.

Really, though, it’s all an excuse to watch this strangely transfixing GIF:

In less positive news, the Blue Jackets aren’t quite there yet with Seth Jones:

Bettman shoots down relocation: ‘Hurricanes aren’t going anywhere’


It’s already been mentioned before, but maybe not quite as emphatically.

On the same day that the NHL confirmed a 31st franchise will come to Las Vegas, commissioner Gary Bettman strongly denied the possibility that the Carolina Hurricanes might relocate.

“The Carolina Hurricanes aren’t going anywhere,” Bettman told reporters including Sportsnet’s Chirs Johnston. “They’re not going anywhere.”

Again, he denied rumors before, but this was slamming the door shut in a pretty definitive way.

This is a decent time to ask with expansion talk in the air, not to mention owner Peter Karamanos’ family issues.

(Karamanos himself insisted that the Hurricanes would not “become the Nordiques.” Ouch.)

If Quebec City, Seattle or some other city is hoping for an NHL team, Bettman & Co. seem confident that it wouldn’t come via a relocated Hurricanes franchise.

Considering the war chest GM Ron Francis is compiling, Carolina fans should be especially excited that the team isn’t moving.

Patrick Kane dominates Hart Trophy voting


Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane became the first American-born player in the modern era* to win the Hart Trophy on Wednesday.

Kane won the 2016 Art Ross Trophy by leading the NHL with a career-high 106 points, generating a 17-point edge on second-place finisher Jamie Benn. Kane’s second-best output was 88 points in 2009-10, so this past campaign was easily his most productive.

Benn and Sidney Crosby were the other finalists for the 2016 Hart Trophy.

Michael Keaton presented the award, though not as Batman or Birdman. Kane gave some love to “Batman Returns” and Keaton in general.

* – It turns out he might not actually be the first U.S.-born player to do so, technically:

Either way, Kane really mopped up awards in 2015-16, as his fellow players also gave him the nod for the Ted Lindsay.

Here is how the MVP voting went:

2015-2016 Hart Trophy Voting

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd-4th-5th)
1. Patrick Kane, CHI 1395 (121-22-5-2-0)
2. Sidney Crosby, PIT 800 (11-64-31-24-15)
3. Jamie Benn, DAL 637 (8-34-40-34-17)
4. Braden Holtby, WSH 292 (5-13-19-13-17)
5. Joe Thornton, SJS 267 (0-8-19-31-23)
6. Alex Ovechkin, WSH 212 (2-6-18-13-21)
7. Jaromir Jagr, FLA 60 (1-1-5-4-6)
8. Anze Kopitar, LAK 53 (1-0-2-8-9)
9. Erik Karlsson, OTT 44 (0-1-4-2-11)
10. Ben Bishop, TBL 42 (1-1-1-4-8)
11. Drew Doughty, LAK 29 (0-0-2-5-4)
12. Vladimir Tarasenko, STL 13 (0-0-1-1-5)
13. John Tavares, NYI 10 (0-0-0-2-4)
14. Joe Pavelski, SJS 8 (0-0-0-2-2)
15. Roberto Luongo, FLA 8 (0-0-0-1-5)
16. Claude Giroux, PHI 6 (0-0-1-0-1)
17. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
Cory Schneider, NJD 5 (0-0-1-0-0)
19. Evgeny Kuznetsov, WSH 4 (0-0-0-1-1)
20. Brent Burns, SJS 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
Ryan Getzlaf, ANA 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
Ryan Kesler, ANA 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
23. Kris Letang, PIT 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

Hart Trophy Winners Since 1990

Year Winner Runner-up
2016 Patrick Kane, Chi. Sidney Crosby, Pit.
2015 Carey Price, Mtl. Alex Ovechkin, Wsh.
2014 Sidney Crosby, Pit. Ryan Getzlaf, Ana.
2013 Alex Ovechkin, Wsh. Sidney Crosby, Pit.
2012 Evgeni Malkin, Pit. Steven Stamkos, T.B.
2011 Corey Perry, Ana. Daniel Sedin, Van.
2010 Henrik Sedin, Van. Alex Ovechkin, Wsh.
2009 Alex Ovechkin, Wsh. Evgeni Malkin, Pit.
2008 Alex Ovechkin, Wsh. Evgeni Malkin, Pit.
2007 Sidney Crosby, Pit. Roberto Luongo, Van.
2006 Joe Thornton, S.J. Jaromir Jagr, NYR
2004 Martin St. Louis, T.B. Jarome Iginla, Cgy.
2003 Peter Forsberg, Col. Markus Naslund, Van.
2002 Jose Theodore, Mtl. Jarome Iginla, Cgy.
2001 Joe Sakic, Col. Mario Lemieux, Pit.
2000 Chris Pronger, St.L Jaromir Jagr, Pit.
1999 Jaromir Jagr, Pit. Alexei Yashin, Ott.
1998 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Jaromir Jagr, Pit.
1997 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Paul Kariya, Ana.
1996 Mario Lemieux, Pit. Mark Messier, NYR
1995 Eric Lindros, Phi. Jaromir Jagr, Pit.
1994 Sergei Fedorov, Det. Dominik Hasek, Buf.
1993 Mario Lemieux, Pit. Doug Gilmour, Tor.
1992 Mark Messier, NYR Patrick Roy, Mtl.
1991 Brett Hull, St.L Wayne Gretzky, L.A.
1990 Mark Messier, Edm. Ray Bourque, Bos.

2016 Vezina Trophy goes to Braden Holtby


Here’s a decent wager: if you tie the league’s single-season wins record, you’ll probably win the Vezina.

That’s what happened this around, as Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby won the 2016 Vezina Trophy.

Holtby went 48-9-7 with a .922 save percentage and three shutouts. Holtby edged Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings.

This is the first time Holtby won the Vezina. Kevin Weekes and Dominik Hasek presented the award.

Here are the voting totals and some history about the award:

2015-2016 Vezina Trophy Voting

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd)
1. Braden Holtby, WSH 140 (26-3-1)
2. Ben Bishop, TBL 51 (2-12-5)
3. Jonathan Quick, LAK 36 (1-8-7)
4. Roberto Luongo, FLA 14 (0-3-5)
5. Corey Crawford, CHI 10 (1-1-2)
6. Cory Schneider, NJD 10 (0-1-7)
7. John Gibson, ANA 3 (0-1-0)
Martin Jones, SJS 3 (0-1-0)
9. Brian Elliott, STL 3 (0-0-3)

Vezina Trophy Winners Since 1990

Year Winner Runner-up
2016 Braden Holtby, Wsh. Ben Bishop, T.B.
2015 Carey Price, Mtl. Pekka Rinne, Nsh.
2014 Tuukka Rask, Bos. Semyon Varlamov, Col.
2013 Sergei Bobrovsky, CBJ Henrik Lundqvist, NYR
2012 Henrik Lundqvist, NYR Jonathan Quick, L.A.
2011 Tim Thomas, Bos. Pekka Rinne, Nsh.
2010 Ryan Miller, Buf. Ilya Bryzgalov, Phx.
2009 Tim Thomas, Bos. Steve Mason, CBJ
2008 Martin Brodeur, N.J. Evgeni Nabokov, S.J.
2007 Martin Brodeur, N.J. Roberto Luongo, Van.
2006 Miikka Kiprusoff, Cgy. Martin Brodeur, N.J
2004 Martin Brodeur, N.J. Miikka Kiprusoff, Cgy.
2003 Martin Brodeur, N.J. Marty Turco, Dal.
2002 Jose Theodore, Mtl. Patrick Roy, Col.
2001 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Roman Cechmanek, Phi.
2000 Olaf Kolzig, Wsh. Roman Turek, St. L.
1999 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Curtis Joseph, Tor.
1998 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Martin Brodeur, N.J
1997 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Martin Brodeur, N.J
1996 Jim Carey, Wsh. Chris Osgood, Det.
1995 Dominik Hasek, Buf. Ed Belfour, Chi.
1994 Dominik Hasek, Buf. John Vanbiesbrouck, Fla.
1993 Ed Belfour, Chi. Tom Barrasso, Pit.
1992 Patrick Roy, Mtl. Kirk McLean, Van.
1991 Ed Belfour, Chi. Patrick Roy, Mtl.
1990 Patrick Roy, Mtl. Daren Puppa, Buf.

Another first: Barry Trotz wins Jack Adams for best coach of 2015-16


After guiding the Washington Capitals to the 2016 Presidents’ Trophy, Barry Trotz won his first Jack Adams Award.

Trotz won over Gerard Gallant of the Florida Panthers and Lindy Ruff of the Dallas Stars.

No doubt about it, this has been a long-time coming for Trotz; it was also the third time he had been nominated for the Jack Adams.

The award was presented by Anders Holm of “Workaholics” fame. No, he wasn’t able to reference … anything from that show.

Here are the voting results and some history for the award, which honors a season’s best coach:

2015-2016 Jack Adams Award Voting

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd)
1. Barry Trotz, WSH 344 (58-16-6)
2. Gerard Gallant, FLA 203 (20-28-19)
3. Lindy Ruff, DAL 75 (1-16-22)
4. Bruce Boudreau, ANA 58 (3-10-13)
5. Mike Sullivan, PIT 35 (2-5-10)
6. Ken Hitchcock, STL 35 (1-7-9)
7. Peter DeBoer, SJS 16 (1-3-2)
8. Darryl Sutter, LAK 10 (1-1-2)
9. Dave Hakstol, PHI 10 (0-2-4)
10. John Hynes, NJD 6 (1-0-1)
11. Joel Quenneville, CHI 5 (1-0-0)
12. Peter Laviolette, NSH 4 (0-1-1)

Jack Adams Award Winners Since 1990

Year Winner Runner-up
2016 Barry Trotz, Wsh. Gerard Gallant, Fla.
2015 Bob Hartley, Cgy. Alain Vigneault, NYR
2014 Patrick Roy, Col. Mike Babcock, Det.
2013 Paul MacLean, Ott. Joel Quenneville, Chi.
2012 Ken Hitchcock, St.L. John Tortorella, NYR
2011 Dan Bylsma, Pit. Alain Vigneault, Van.
2010 Dave Tippett, Phx. Barry Trotz, Nsh.
2009 Claude Julien, Bos. Andy Murray, St.L
2008 Bruce Boudreau, Wsh. Guy Carbonneau, Mtl.
2007 Alain Vigneault, Van. Lindy Ruff, Buf.
2006 Lindy Ruff, Buf. Peter Laviolette, Car.
2004 John Tortorella, T.B. Ron Wilson, S.J.
2003 Jacques Lemaire, Min. John Tortorella, T.B.
2002 Bob Francis, Phx. Brian Sutter, Chi.
2001 Bill Barber, Phi. Scotty Bowman, Det.
2000 Joel Quenneville, St.L Alain Vigneault, Mtl.
1999 Jacques Martin, Ott. Pat Quinn, Tor.
1998 Pat Burns, Bos. Larry Robinson, L.A
1997 Ted Nolan, Buf. Ken Hitchcock, Dal.
1996 Scott Bowman, Det. Doug MacLean, Fla.
1995 Marc Crawford, Que. Scott Bowman, Det.
1994 Jacques Lemaire, N.J. Kevin Constantine, S.J.
1993 Pat Burns, Tor. Brian Sutter, Bos.
1992 Pat Quinn, Van. Roger Neilson, NYR
1991 Brian Sutter, St.L Tom Webster, L.A.
1990 Bob Murdoch, Wpg. Mike Milbury, Bos.