James O'Brien

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

Rangers land solid depth by inking Josh Jooris


Josh Jooris isn’t the sort of matinee name the New York Rangers often seem fixated on, but he’s a sneaky-solid pickup for the team.

The New York Rangers announced that they signed Jooris on Friday, although they didn’t provide details regarding the term or money. They confirmed as much shortly after also making Dylan McIlrath‘s signing official.

Jooris was slated to become an RFA with the Calgary Flames, but they didn’t hand him a qualifying offer, so he became unrestricted. He carried a $975K salary and cap hit last season.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports that Jooris’ deal is for one year and $800K.

Many Flames fans were hoping that they would re-sign Jooris, even though his offensive numbers dipped a bit from 24 in 2014-15 to 13 last season.

The 26-year-old saw a sharp increase in defensive zone starts in 2015-16. With that in mind, it’s plausible that the Rangers could either hand him those tough assignments or get more production out of him with a cushier role.

This isn’t the sort of move that will revolutionize a team, but depth makes a difference in this age of parity.

New York has been awfully busy today, also signing Tommy Hughes.

Earlier this week, the Rangers avoided salary arbitration by signing J.T. Miller. They still face potential hearings with Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes.

This team is really coming into focus, and Jooris provides a solid – if subtle – boost.

Rangers sign McIlrath, narrow to-do list down to Kreider, Hayes


The New York Rangers aren’t waiting until the last minute to handle every salary arbitration situation, although they still have some work to do.

The Rangers avoided arbitration with defenseman Dylan McIlrath via a one-year, $800K deal, according to the CBC’s Tim Wharnsby. New York recently confirmed that an agreement was made.

This comes after locking down promising forward J.T. Miller on Wednesday while New York still faces potential hearings with Chris Kreider (slated for July 22) and Kevin Hayes (July 27).

Locking up McIlrath to a reasonable deal provides optimism that the Rangers could take care of both Kreider and Hayes.

(For further reading on one of those scenarios, note that The New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes Kyle Palmieri‘s contract could stand as a comparable for Kreider.)

McIlrath, the 10th pick of the 2010 NHL Draft, is still attempting to carve out his place in the Rangers’ lineup. He played 34 of his 37 career NHL regular season games last season and added a playoff contest as well.

Dan Boyle‘s departure opens things up quite a bit for him, although he’ll still need to prove himself since the Rangers have plenty of defensive options from a quantity standpoint.

Parenteau’s return to Islanders: predictable and sensible


New York Islanders GM Garth Snow has impressed over the years by finding gems and great value, yet this off-season has been … divisive.

Essentially trading Kyle Okposo for Andrew Ladd and losing Frans Nielsen leaves the team in an odd place, but signing P.A. Parenteau for cheap stands as another example of his shrewdness.

Parenteau enjoyed a rejuvenating 2015-16 season with the Maple Leafs, yet his best times came riding shotgun with John Tavares and the New York Islanders. Neither side forgets about that, and this full-circle moment almost seems predictable to Parenteau, as NHL.com noted after the deal.

“I had a rough couple years, in Montreal especially, but I bounced back last year,” Parenteau said. “I thought I might come back [to the Islanders] at the Trade Deadline last season but it didn’t happen. I always thought I’d be back to Long Island.”

OK, so maybe someone needs to get him up to speed about the Brooklyn thing, but hey … plenty of time in the off-season, right?

This move isn’t a revolutionary one for the Islanders. Still, it’s a nice one that gives them a boost for little money.

The rest is a little more subjective, right down to Nielsen’s departure possibly being beneficial to the benefit of Ryan Strome.

Yes, Doc Emrick calling a Pittsburgh Pirates game was great


Here’s something that makes sense even if you didn’t necessarily see it coming: Bob Costas and Mike “Doc” Emrick sound great together.

NHL on NBC’s beloved announcer got to live a dream on Friday, as Emrick called a Pittsburgh Pirates game.

Costas and Emrick covered the game for MLB Network, capturing the moment of Josh Bell’s first hit:

NHL.com shared a few other clips, while MLB.com has even more.

There was one additional bonus for Doc, too: his Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 8-4.

‘Everyday-er’ Devin Shore wants to make healthy mark on Stars

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Last season was a “roller coaster” for Dallas Stars prospect Devin Shore, as he related to NHL.com.

He showed some promise in the AHL before a shoulder injury derailed his 2015-16 season. As dismaying as that was, he saw an example to follow in Radek Faksa, who became his “model” for bouncing back.

At minimum, Shore’s hard-working attitude made an impression on Stars management.

“This is his third year, I think, [in development camp], so he’s kind of a veteran,” Stars GM Jim Nill said to NHL.com. “He’s a leader. I talk about everyday-ers. He’s an everyday guy. He does everything right, so it’s good to have him here.”

(Ah yes, everyday-ers. For some of us, it’s enough of an accomplishment to be a once-per-weeker.)

Hockey’s Future ranks Shore as the Stars’ best center prospect, and he already received a cup of coffee at the NHL level last season.

If Shore is indeed 100 percent from that shoulder surgery and getting better as he indicates, then he may indeed follow a similar path to Faksa, adding to Dallas’ embarrassment of riches at the forward position.