James O'Brien

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

Bruins GM doesn’t deny possibility of trading Loui Eriksson


The Boston Bruins aren’t denying it: there’s a chance they might need to trade Loui Eriksson.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney addressed the rumors during a NESN interview on Thursday, admitting that the two sides have entered in discussions, and the “first priority” would be to re-sign the pending unrestricted free agent.

Yes, there, is a “but” …

Sweeney acknowledged that the Bruins may need to shop Eriksson around if they realize that they can’t find a compromise.

As far as what the Bruins want (beyond the vague “improving our team” note, which may or may not mean that they want a roster player rather than a prospect and/or pick)? Well, that’s left up to your fertile imaginations …

Click here for the initial post about the rumors.

Latest awkward facet of John Scott to 2016 All-Star Game: What he’ll wear


The John Scott/2016 NHL All-Star Game situation transitioned from “amusing/polarizing” to “just plain uncomfortable” quite a while ago, but new wrinkles continue to ramp up the discomfort.

In this case, it’s about what Scott will wear during the Skills Competition portion, as Scott won’t represent the Arizona Coyotes (nor will anyone else, apparently).

You know, in case it wasn’t awkward enough …

Hoffman in, Turris out for Senators tonight


Kyle Turris played through some serious pain so far this season (he immediately bounced back from this), yet he’s sitting out Thursday’s Ottawa Senators – New Jersey Devils game.

The ailment: a lower-body injury.

As the Senators note, this closes off quite the impressive “ironman” streak for Turris, who had played in 307 straight games.

It’s not all bad for the Senators, as it appears to be one top-line player out and one in; Mike Hoffman is able to suit up tonight.

Circling back to Turris, perhaps the Senators should give him a longer, strategic break?


Habs recall Carr with Byron placed on IR


The Montreal Canadiens are a mess right now, but maybe an injury could actually open the door for a small boost?

With Paul Byron placed on IR according to their official roster, the Canadiens decided to recall Daniel Carr on Thursday.

That’s probably not a game-changer, yet Carr has had his moments. He scored two points in his first three games and is producing very nicely at the AHL level so far in 2015-16.

It’s not as big of a deal as GM Marc Bergevin addressing the media about Montreal’s struggles, mind you, although Carr gets to play.

Montreal’s next game is against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

Extension talks begin between Bruins, Eriksson (who may be pricey)


The good news is that Loui Eriksson has finally been the quality forward the Boston Bruins were hoping for when they traded for him in that Tyler Seguin deal.

The bad news for the Bruins is that Eriksson’s pulling off this strong work in the final year of his current contract.

Eriksson and the Bruins have begun early contract extension negotiations, according to reporters including ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun and TSN’s Darren Dreger.

If Dreger’s sources are correct, Eriksson’s initial asking price is pretty steep: a five or six-year contract in the neighborhood of $6 million per season (so $30 million or $36 million overall).

Eriksson turns 31 in July, so that term could be risky, and that cap price could make it awfully tough to re-sign Torey Krug (contract expires after this season) and the likes of Brad Marchand (his expires following the 2016-17 campaign).

Granted, opening contract requests are designed to be at the extremes for both sides, so this wouldn’t be the absolute asking price … although Eriksson could likely command a pretty penny in unrestricted free agency.

Actually, that’s another concern for Boston. They may need to figure out if they can re-sign him; if not, they may opt to move him during the trade deadline to avoid losing Eriksson for nothing.

LeBrun discussed as much:

Very preliminary contract discussions have begun between the Bruins and pending unrestricted free agent winger Loui Eriksson. The 30-year-old is enjoying a fine season and is second on the Boston Bruins in scoring. But whether or not the Bruins and his agent J.P. Barry find common ground on an extension before the Feb. 29 trade deadline remains to be seen.

Long story short, the Bruins have some big choices to make when it comes to Eriksson.