James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.
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Ray Bourque gets arrested, OUI charge after car accident

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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.

Sabres GM doesn’t ‘know all the details’ of Evander Kane investigation

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The Buffalo Sabres “are still getting information” about an investigation regarding Evander Kane allegedly harassing two women at a bar, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

Here are some details regarding that situation, via the Associated Press:

The person said Kane is accused of grabbing the woman by the arm or shoulder early Friday. The person said no charges have been filed and no one has been arrested.

Sabres GM Tim Murray backed up the assertion that the team is still digging into the situation.

It doesn’t sound like they are happy to see Kane generating negative headlines, however.

“It frustrates me that it’s public and in the press, but people live their lives,” Murray said, according to the Buffalo News. “If this is like the last one and in three days they say nothing happened and it goes away, sure, it’s frustrating, but to me it’s a wait and see.”

“If it’s true, then we have to deal with it the way we have to deal with it. If it’s false again, then I guess we have to come up with a different plan of attack on how to make sure that these accusations that may not be true, how we stop them.”

The Sabres haven’t released an official statement regarding the matter. PHT will provide an update if they do.

Kings sign Trevor Lewis for four more years

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) Forward Trevor Lewis has agreed to a four-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Kings.

The club announced the deal Saturday.

Lewis has been a key player on the Kings’ depth lines for the past six seasons, playing a defensive game during Los Angeles’ run to Stanley Cup championships in 2012 and 2014. He scored two goals in the Kings’ Cup-clinching victory over New Jersey in 2012.

The 29-year-old Lewis had eight goals and eight assists for the Kings last season. The Salt Lake City native has never had more than 25 points in an NHL season, but he has 23 points in 75 playoff games.

Lewis was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.

The 2016 NHL Draft’s biggest winners

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The dust has barely settled on the 2016 NHL Draft, so what better time to assign winners and losers?

What’s that, you say? It would be better to wait anywhere between three and 10 years to hand out assessments?

(Awkward pause.)

OK, maybe that’s true, but let’s allow hindsight to make us look silly by throwing out some hasty picks anyway. Let’s start off with a post about the winners, shall we?

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

Winners

AMERICA

Feel free to cue Team America’s wildly NSFW theme song while noting that the United States churned out a record 12 first-rounders in 2016. That list included Auston Matthews, the top overall pick (and the first American to go first overall since Patrick Kane).

Read more about the ‘ol red-white-and-blue’s presence here.

Finland

With 14 overall selections, maybe Finland didn’t knock it out of the park in the “quantity” category. Still, with three of the top five picks hailing from Finland, that’s a heck of a haul.

Question: when will it stop being weird that Jarmo Kekalainen, the first Finnish GM in NHL history, opted against drafting one of those guys?

Maple Leafs/Jets

Filling out the “winners by default” categories are teams like the Leafs and Winnipeg Jets, who succeed merely by following the script in grabbing Matthews and Patrik Laine respectively.

Bonus points to Toronto if Kerby Rychel pans out, too.

Calgary Flames

Brian Elliott doesn’t cost much in cap space ($2.5 million) and he didn’t cost a whole lot to acquire. The Flames scored a massive upgrade in net for the short-term and might even be wise to lock him up for a few more years.

If that wasn’t enough, Calgary adds another useful young piece in Matthew Tkachuk. Extra super bonus points for inspiring the latest great Brian Burke quote:

Arizona Coyotes

Bold moves from a remarkably young new general manager. We could look back at nabbing Jakob Chychrun as a shrewd move, yet he wasn’t the only example of the ‘Yotes loading up on defense. Anthony Deangelo is an intriguing gamble. With Alex Goligoski in tow, the Coyotes have quite the war chest at the coveted defensive position … and in general, really.

Absorbing Pavel Datsyuk‘s contract is all about the franchise’s economic realities.

Red Wings

Unloading Datsyuk’s $7.5 million cap hit opens up plenty of possibilities for Detroit, even if dreams of Steven Stamkos end up being unfounded.

Besides, this franchise still unearths draft gems with impressive regularity.

Chicago Blackhawks

Hey, giving up Andrew Shaw hurts, but the Blackhawks landed quite a deal for his mere negotiating rights. GM Stan Bowman continues to be a salary cap Houdini. If they really do end up reuniting with Brian Campbell, look out.

Edmonton Oilers

It’s not easy to spell Jesse Puljujarvi, so let’s tweak it to “steal.”

Consider this a weaker “win” if the Oilers fail in their quest to land a defenseman.

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Time will tell if winners end up looking like losers and vice versa. Things could even change between the moment this post is published and when free agency kicks off on July 1.

For whatever it’s worth, above teams look like they’re sitting fairly pretty at the moment.

Shattenkirk, Fowler and other names floating around rumor mill

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“Realistic” or not, there are a lot of names running through the rumor mill.

PHT already touched on talk about the Lightning possibly moving Ben Bishop and the Canadiens totally not shopping P.K. Subban.

Let’s consider this a lightning round of trade rumblings, non-Tampa-Bay-edition:

  • The latest on Kevin Shattenkirk gives the impression that a move away from the Blues is very much a “work in progress” but St. Louis seems willing to expedite the process.

One team that’s in the mix: the Arizona Coyotes, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. With Alex Goligoski already signed, the Coyotes could really boost their defense in a big way (imagine the offensive potential from the blueline in Goligoski, Shattenkirk and Oliver Ekman-Larsson).

  • Shattenkirk’s name surfaced before, and there are more rumors about the Anaheim Ducks trading Cam Fowler, as ESPN’s Craig Custance reports.

The Buffalo Sabres might be in the mix for Fowler, too, although there’s a ceiling on the price.

  • Speaking of picks, all sorts of rumors are flying around about teams moving pretty high picks in various deals, so stay tuned tomorrow. (Quick example: the Oilers might be shopping their fourth pick.)
  • Pavel Datsyuk‘s cap hit is drawing some attention, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie:

Custance reports that it might require the Red Wings to retain some cash, which could be the snag.

  • Finally, LeBrun reports that the San Jose Sharks might try to get something for James Reimer‘s bargaining rights, much like they did with Antti Niemi last off-season.

Again, there are are a lot of rumors floating around heading into draft weekend. This doesn’t guarantee that a bunch of moves will happen, yet there are plenty of stories to watch.