Author: James O'Brien

New Jersey Devils v New York Islanders

Jagr, Lupul headline ‘trade bait list’


With the hockey world’s eyes on the 2015 All-Star weekend, some find their minds pivoting to the next all-encompassing date on the hockey calendar: March 2, aka the trade deadline.

TSN’s Darren Dreger fans those flames, trotting out an intriguing “trade bait list.”


 (Via Dreger)

There are certainly some interesting names on that list.

Some would seem to be there because they may simply end up being too expensive to re-sign, possibly included Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Martin. Others include players who are on fading teams, such as Jaromir Jagr of the New Jersey Devils. There are also examples of combinations of both, maybe most fittingly Cody Franson of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jagr is no stranger to trade deadline tumult, as he joined the Boston Bruins during their run to the 2013 Stanley Cup Final after the Dallas Stars recognized that they were a few strides behind the Western Conference playoff pack.

Dreger runs down the Canadian NHL teams’ likely trade deadline perspectives here, indicating that contenders will take a look but maybe not being super-aggressive. On the other hand, the Leafs and Edmonton Oilers are expected to pursue deals to work toward the future.

The Canadian dollar could hang over the heads of GMs of those teams, not to mention cap-conscious franchises in general. Read more about those concerns here.

Video: NHL stars dazzle while wearing GoPro cameras


Breaking: GoPro cameras apparently have a use beyond figuring out how your pets behave when you’re gone for the day.

As you can see from this video, high-level NHL players don’t need to be pushed too hard before they show off their skills. It’s basically three-plus minutes of delirious footage:

What’s your favorite bit? P.K. Subban clearly has a ball, as did Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews. Henrik Lundqvist tracking pucks was a big highlight, too:


Imagine enjoying these sorts of angles during a playoff game? We can dream.

Keep the Kia: Denial, acceptance and going last in the fantasy draft

Ottawa Senators v Arizona Coyotes

The beauty of the 2015 NHL All-Star Game’s fantasy draft is recreating that feeling of picking teams in a way that evokes playground nostalgia. Of course, there’s one subversive twist … a single player experiences something they likely didn’t encounter often as kids: getting picked last.

With media availability kicking in on Friday, some players shared their thoughts on possibly following Phil Kessel as an All-Star who was tabbed last. The range of emotions seemed quite varied.

For Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan, the consolation prize of a new car won’t be enough incentive to go last overall, as he told the Ottawa Citizen.

“I really don’t want a Kia,” Ryan says. “Although if it happened, I’m not going to be upset about it. Mom will have a nice ride.”

Ryan noted that he already dropped former Anaheim Ducks teammate Ryan Getzlaf to try to convince him that he would be a “mid-round steal.”

While Ryan represents the denial phase, New Jersey Devils veteran Patrik Elias seems to cover the acceptance spectrum, as the Bergen Record reports.

“It is what it is,” Elias said. “It’s good for the fans. It’s fine. The draft is the draft. I don’t care where I’m picked. I’m just happy to be there.”

While Elias takes the veteran approach, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson is almost like the new kid at school.

One imagines Kessel’s reaction would simply be, “Oh no, not again,” even if he seems to say otherwise.


Odds are on Zemgus Girgensons, Radim Vrbata going last

PHT’s take

Girgensons, Vrbata favored to go last at fantasy draft, says oddsmaker

Philadelphia Flyers v Buffalo Sabres

For the record, Friday is Media Day for the 2015 All-Star weekend, not Pick on Zemgus Girgensons Day.

Brovada released some 2015 All-Star odds today, covering obvious questions such as who will be selected first and last during the fantasy draft (as well as more esoteric ones, like Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price being on the same team).

Let’s start with who might be selected last:

Who will be picked last in the 2015 NHL All Star Draft 
Any Other Player                       3/1
Zemgus Girgensons (BUF)         4/1
Radim Vrbata (VAN)                  4/1
Patrik Elias (NJ)                        5/1
Bobby Ryan (OTT)                     6/1
Tyler Johnson (TB)                    6/1
Phil Kessel (TOR)                      9/1
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)           15/1
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM)     15/1
Tyler Seguin (DAL)                    20/1
Patrice Bergeron (BOS)             30/1
Jakub Voracek (PHI)                  30/1
Claude Giroux (PHI)                   50/1
Alex Ovechkin (WAS)                100/1
Steven Stamkos (TB)                 100/1
Ryan Johansen (CLB)                100/1
Anze Kopitar (LA)                      100/1
John Tavares (NYI)                    100/1

(Don’t sleep on the “one of the captains outright trolling a friend and/or teammate,” by the way.)

On the flip side, who might get selected first?

Who will be picked first in the 2015 NHL All Star Draft 
Alex Ovechkin (WAS)                2/1
Steven Stamkos (TB)                 2/1
Ryan Johansen (CLB)                4/1
Duncan Keith (CHI)                    10/1
Corey Crawford (CHI)                 10/1
Shea Weber (NAS)                    12/1
Anze Kopitar (LA)                      30/1
John Tavares (NYI)                    30/1
Phil Kessel (TOR)                      30/1
Brent Seabrook (CHI)                 40/1
Carey Price (MON)                     40/1
Claude Giroux (PHI)                   40/1
Patrice Bergeron (BOS)             40/1
Tyler Seguin (DAL)                    40/1
Any Other Player                       40/1
Zemgus Girgensons (BUF)         50/1
Jakub Voracek (PHI)                  50/1
Vladimir Tarasenko (STL)           50/1
Jaroslav Halak (NYI)                  80/1
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM)     80/1
Ryan Suter (MIN)                       80/1
Tyler Johnson (TB)                    80/1
Bobby Ryan (OTT)                     80/1
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT)             80/1
Roberto Luongo (FLA)               80/1
Mark Giordano (CAL)                 80/1
Brent Burns (SJ)                        100/1
Dustin Byfuglien (WPG)             100/1
Erik Johnson (COL)                   100/1
Justin Faulk (CAR)                     100/1
Kevin Shattenkirk (STL)              100/1
Patrik Elias (NJ)                        100/1
Radim Vrbata (VAN)                  100/1
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (PHO)      100/1

Despite being one of the better offensive defensemen in the NHL, Oliver Ekman-Larsson said he wouldn’t be shocked if he went last:

As far as who will win, Team Toews is at even odds while Team Foligno’s -140 (5/7). Finally, some of the odder bits:

Will Carey Price (MON) and Jaroslav Halak (NYI) be on the same All Star Team?        
Yes                  EVEN   (1/1)
No                    -140      (5/7)
Will Ryan Johansen (CLB) and Nick Foligno (CLB) be on the same All Star Team?     
Yes                  – 200     (1/2)
No                    +150     (3/2)
Will Jonathan Toews (CHI), Corey Crawford (CHI), Duncan Keith (CHI) and Brent Seabrook (CHI) and be on the same All Star Team?   
Yes                  +550     (11/2)
No                    -900     (1/9)

Is anyone else a little disappointed that “uncomfortable Phil Kessel facial expressions” wasn’t a category? (Taking over-four.)

Canucks GM says Bieksa’s injury won’t prompt a trade


With Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa out indefinitely with a hand injury that requires surgery, some might wonder if the team should explore the trade market. GM Jim Benning is opting to stay put, instead.

Benning said the Canucks are “not going to go out and get anybody” following that injury, noting that Frank Corrado has been impressive in Bieksa’s absence, the Vancouver Sun’s Iain MacIntyre reports.

Corrado, 21, scored Vancouver’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. Bieksa, 33, generated nine points in 45 games while averaging 21:16 time on ice per contest.

While Alexander Edler easily leads Canucks defensemen in ice time, Bieksa came in second, so it would seem like a substantial loss on paper.

Either way, Vancouver faces a golden opportunity after the All-Star break. While they face some challenging opponents (and struggling ones, like Minnesota and Buffalo), six straight home games signify a chance to strengthen the Canucks’ position in the Pacific Division and Western Conference in general.

Apparently they feel properly equipped to do so, even without a trade to bolster their defense.