James O'Brien

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

Shaw laments leaving ‘second home’ in Chicago, but excited for Montreal


MONTREAL (AP) A day after adding forward Andrew Shaw in a draft-day deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, the next step for the Montreal Canadiens is getting the pending restricted free agent signed to a deal.

Shaw had a quick chat with Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin on Friday night. He added they’ll likely talk again over the weekend.

“I signed my first deal with him, my entry level, so I’m excited that we have that relationship already,” Shaw said Saturday on a conference call.

“I know my agent Pat (Brisson) and him are friends as well. So hopefully it helps things go smoothly. I’m sure it will.

“I’m just excited and waiting patiently, no rush obviously – they have the draft and everything this weekend and free agency coming up – so I’ll just sit back and wait for that phone call.”

Bergevin, a former assistant GM in Chicago, said Friday that Shaw is a “character guy” who knows what it takes to win. Shaw was drafted by the Blackhawks in 2011 and won two Stanley Cups over five seasons in the Windy City.

“I’ve got a fresh start with a new team,” Shaw said. “I’m excited about that. It’s going to be fun. I’m excited to meet the guys on the team and get in that locker room. But at the other end, obviously I’m going to miss all my friends and teammates in the organization and all the fans there in Chicago as well. Obviously I’ll miss the city as well too.”

Shaw had 14 goals and 20 assists in 78 regular-season games last season in the final year of his $4 million, two-year contract. He added six points in six playoff games.

“I think we were pretty close to making a deal, but obviously they have cap issues,” Shaw said of the Blackhawks.

“It’s tough to get around, especially this time of year with the draft coming, free agency coming. It was tough, I thought we were close (to a deal). I loved being in Chicago obviously, it’s a second home to me. A lot of great memories there.

“I had some fun playing there. I had a lot of friends and family in that city. So I’m going to miss it dearly, that’s for sure.”

The Canadiens gave up a pair of second-round draft picks to acquire Shaw.

“When it’s all said and done, I’m happy,” Shaw said. “I’m excited. I want to be a part of this. I’m three hours from home, which is pretty big for me and my family. So it should be a fun year.”

Montreal also traded forward Lars Eller to the Washington Capitals on Friday for second-round draft picks in 2017 and 2018.

Losers of the 2016 NHL Draft


It’s tough to declare winners and losers without handy, objective things like “scoreboards.”

But hey, it can also be a fun exercise, especially when we keep in mind that these choices could end up looking foolish … maybe in a short period of time.

So, big disclaimer: losers and winners can change sides when it comes to handing out draft grades. Sometimes they can change spots multiple times.

For PHT’s stab at a winners list, click here. Now let’s ponder who had a rough weekend.

Note: These “grades’ are heavily influenced by trades and other factors beyond mere picks.


Jim Benning

Another year, another round of Benning and the Vancouver Canucks taking a beating in social media during draft time.

In this case, Benning will likely face discipline for tampering related to comments made about Steven Stamkos and P.K. Subban. Specifically, he angered Habs GM Marc Bergevin, who believes Benning crossed the line.

It’s the sort of thing that leaves you making funny faces.

People who make fun of Benning might be winners.


Boston still hasn’t acquired the “transitional” defenseman it craves. That part could definitely change, especially with the market allegedly softening up.

Even so, people still believe that the B’s are prone to reaching for picks, as many accused management of doing in 2015.


Maybe an off year, maybe not?

Czech and Slovak systems

Maybe an off year, maybe not?

Jakob Chychrun

This year’s Aaron Rodgers/Cam Fowler, Chychrun slid to the Arizona Coyotes at 16th overall. At one point, he seemed to have top-five potential. Instead, he was the fifth defenseman picked in the draft.


They didn’t manage to get a whole lot for Brian Elliott and Kevin Shattenkirk seems a little surprised to still be in the organization.

Not a disaster, but this is a big off-season for the Blues. Seems like they stumbled a bit out of the gate, at least as of this writing.


Ultimately, we’ll have a better idea about who won and lost in months and then years.

Add Sabres to list of teams courting ‘big fish’ Steven Stamkos


In a reality without a salary cap, it would be quicker to note who isn’t interested in Steven Stamkos than who is.

Budgets thin the real-world list out considerably, but more than that, there’s also the notion of where the current captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning would actually go.

Still, we’re now in the tamper-free zone for Stamkos, so expect a wide variety of pitches that range from reasonable to remote.

One interesting team surfacing is the Buffalo Sabres. GM Tim Murray provided an interesting take on trying to land Stamkos, the “big fish,” to reporters on Saturday.

(Geography meaning that Buffalo is awfully close to Toronto, in case Stamkos wants to be relatively close to home but maybe would rather not be a member of the Maple Leafs.)

And, hey, Stamkos wouldn’t need to worry about that pesky practice of playing on the wing:

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun lays out a few frontrunners, even if the Detroit Red Wings are being more coy than others.

Nevertheless, it’s absolutely 100 percent guaranteed that the Red Wings will make an offer to Stamkos. The Vancouver Canucks and, of course, his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs are among the other potential suitors, and some other teams might surprise.

Maybe throw the headline-seeking New York Rangers into the mix while you’re at it:

Many, including TSN’s Bob McKenzie, indicate Stamkos would prefer to stay with the Tampa Bay Lightning if all things are equal … but other teams may be able to offer financial and geographic incentives.

It wouldn’t be surprising if some teams hint at interest merely to save face.

Long story short, expect plenty of speculation heading into free agency on July 1.

For all we know, someone may indeed make such a strong pitch that the Lightning might facilitate a sign-and-trade.

Shattenkirk, agent are ‘a bit surprised’ Blues didn’t trade him


During what could be a summer of tough calls, the St. Louis Blues sent Brian Elliott to the Calgary Flames during draft weekend. Depending upon whom you ask, it sounds like they should have been even busier.

To be specific, Kevin Shattenkirk and his reps seemed to believe that they were headed out of town.

As mentioned on Thursday, it sounds like the Blues are OK with Shattenkirk discussing an extension with a potential trade partner … at least if the price is right.

That wasn’t the case yet, as his reps told ESPN’s Craig Custance.

Going a little further, Blues GM Doug Armstrong explained why he didn’t pull the trigger on a Shattenkirk deal to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

“Maybe my asking price is too high or maybe I value him higher than other people. But I haven’t been anywhere close to what I think is representative of the value of Kevin Shattenkirk,” Armstrong said on Friday (and reiterated on Saturday).

If icy talks are thawing out, perhaps it’s just a matter of time.

Then again, we’ve seen plenty of instances in which a player almost gets traded only to remain an integral part of a team, so we’ll need to wait and see.

And so will Shattenkirk.

Ray Bourque gets arrested, OUI charge after car accident


Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque was arrested and charged with OUI (operating under the influence) after a car accident on Friday, according to outlets including the Boston Globe and CSNNE.com.

The accident happened in Andover, Mass. The Boston Globe reports that no one suffered injuries from the two-car crash.

Other sources refer to it as a DWI and a charge of “following too closely.”

Bourque, 55, was released on bail.

No other information, including a court date, is available at this time.