James O'Brien

Anaheim Ducks v Calgary Flames - Game Three
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Devils sign Schlemko for one year, $650K

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The New Jersey Devils dipped into the free agent pool on Thursday, signing defenseman David Schlemko to a one-year, $650K contract.

The team notes that it’s a one-way deal, which is noteworthy as there could be quite a bit of competition for roster spots among Devils blueliners.

“David Schlemko is a veteran with five years of NHL experience who brings depth and competition to our defensive corps,” Devils GM Ray Shero said.

Schlemko, 28, bounced around quite a bit in 2014-15, playing 20 games with the Arizona Coyotes, five with the Dallas Stars and then finishing up with 19 contests as a member of the Calgary Flames.

While he experienced instability, he stood as a relatively stable presence in Calgary, putting up some healthy possession stats on a team that didn’t excel in that regard.

The Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti lays out the possible players vying for a role in New Jersey:

One wouldn’t expect spectacular things from Schlemko, but he could be a nice depth guy, at least if he can break into the lineup. All things considered, it’s not a bad deal for the Devils.

Isles ink 2015 first-rounder Barzal

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The New York Islanders signed Mathew Barzal to a three-year, entry-level contract on Thursday.

GM Garth Snow selected Barzal with the 16th overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft.

He scored 57 points in 44 games with the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds in 2014-15, turning heads with his combination of speed and skill.

Lighthouse Hockey postulates that the Islanders would not have traded Griffin Reinhart if they didn’t land Barzal. Even so, they don’t expect him to make the Islanders’ roster in 2015-16.

The 18-year-old has time to mature, yet some Isles fans may already be giddy picturing how he could add to a group that is already bursting with prime-age talent.

You can read more about Barzal in this PHT profile.

Mike Richards’ case pushed back to December

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A lawyer appeared in court on Mike Richards’ behalf on Thursday, and the ultimate result is that his case has been remanded to Dec. 8, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

No plea was entered regarding charges of possession of a controlled substance (oxycodone).

The incident happened at the Emerson Border Crossing as Richards was entering Canada on June 17, while the arrest itself happened on Aug. 25.

The Los Angeles Kings terminated his contract on June 29, citing a “material breach.” The NHLPA filed a grievance on the 30-year-old forward’s behalf, though a date hasn’t yet been set for that to come to a conclusion.

Much like the cases of Patrick Kane, Ryan O'Reilly and Slava Voynov, there are still things to clarify. Richards’ situation is different in at least one way, however, as he currently isn’t technically under an NHL contract.

PHT will provide updates regarding Richards whenever they may come.

Theo Fleury, country music star?

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Theo Fleury/eOne Music Canada
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You know, Theo Fleury has a point: his life really has been a lot like a country song.

Granted, most people don’t associate country music with former Calgary Flames All-Stars, but he’s experienced the sort of hardships that go far beyond the cliche of losing your dog.

Either way, Fleury is embarking on a career in country music, as his album “I Am Who I Am” will be released via eOne Music Canada on Oct. 23.

His reps released the single “My Life’s Been a Country Song” on Thursday:

Not bad, right? (We’ll leave deeper analysis to country fans/experts/critics.)

“We wanted this to be a real grassroots album — ‘Let’s get back to fiddles and steel guitars and accordions and honky-tonk pianos, but put our own stamp on it,’ ” Fleury said, via eOne Music Canada. “We’re a bunch of guys who love that old-school country sound.”

It should be intriguing to see where this lands on the scale of athletes trying their luck at recording music.

Here’s a guess: Fleury will rank somewhere between Shaq’s misadventures and Wayman Tisdale’s triumphs.

PTOverload? Leafs reportedly invite Boyes to camp

Brad Boyes
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At this rate, Toronto Maple Leafs training camp might feature closer competition than their games.

The Maple Leafs reportedly handed forward Brad Boyes a professional tryout contract on Thursday, according to Fox Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland.

Boyes joins a remarkably distinguished group of veteran players hoping to make the Leafs, as Curtis Glencross and Devin Setoguchi are also in that PTO mix. That trio has combined for 464 goals and 1,005 points in their NHL careers.

Boyes, 33, has eclipsed the 20-goal mark four times in his career, yet he had to earn a contract in this situation before. The Florida Panthers made him try out before signing him, and he rewarded them with a 21-goal season in 2013-14.

He didn’t score as many goals with Florida in 2014-15 (14), but he actually ended up with more points (38 versus 36).

Is he a perfect player? No, but he’s managed to stay relevant enough to keep his NHL career alive, and he’s likely to push Setoguchi, Glencross and Maple Leafs youngsters for a roster spot in the coming weeks.