James O'Brien

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Lamoriello’s departure removes any doubt: Devils are Shero’s team


Lou Lamoriello becoming the Toronto Maple Leafs’ new GM wasn’t just a surprise to New Jersey Devils fans. Executives didn’t see it coming, either.

Principal owner Josh Harris told the press that he found out “very recently” that Lamoriello wasn’t happy about a power-sharing situation with new GM Ray Shero.

“When you’re used to having absolute control of an organization… it was a different situation,” Harris said of Lamoriello, according to the Newark Star-Ledger’s Rich Chere.

Shero is the new sheriff in town

Speaking of absolute power, it sounds like Shero will clearly be the man in charge, rather than dealing with more of a transition with Lamoriello as president. Harris said that he doesn’t feel the need to hire a new team president after this stunning departure.

Shero admitted that he was “surprised” that Lamoriello left for Toronto.

What’s next for New Jersey?

While Harris made the typical overtures about the team being willing to spend, it indeed sounds like the franchise may play it tight and rebuild:

As far as team-building goes, this is quite clearly Shero’s unquestioned regime now, but some other executive matters may be a collective effort.

Harris admits that he’ll miss Lamoriello, yet maybe pictures like these provide a decent argument that it might be best for everyone to remove such a looming, overwhelming presence. At least if they want to make some changes:

source: AP
Via AP

Columbus inks Chaput to one-year, two-way contract

Columbus Blue Jackets v Florida Panthers

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed forward Michael Chaput to a one-year, two-way contract on Thursday.

While the team didn’t share the financial details, the Columbus Dispatch reports that it’s worth $650K at the NHL level.

Chaput, 23, played a career-high 33 games in the NHL in 2014-15, generating five points. The flood of Blue Jackets injuries allowed him to generate an unexpected amount of experience at the NHL level.

On paper, he’d have a tough road to travel to play a comparable amount of games in 2015-16. That said, it could happen if the Blue Jackets’ bad injury luck last season was actually the beginning of a pattern.

Chaput was the 89th pick of the 2010 NHL Draft. The Philadelphia Flyers selected him then, but eventually traded him to Columbus for Tom Sestito.

Report: Bouma, Flames settle on three-year, $6.6M deal

Lance Bouma, Mikael Backlund

If reports are true that Lance Bouma was asking for $2.5 million in arbitration, he didn’t have to settle for a whole lot less from the Calgary Flames.

The two sides struck a deal a day later, agreeing to a three-year, $6.6 million contract, according to the CBC’s Tim Wharnsby. (The Flames confirmed the term, but not the money.)

Bouma (pictured wearing No. 17) easily set career highs in goals (16), assists (18) and points (34) this past season.

That reported $2.2 million cap hit doesn’t sting too badly next season – General Fanager pegs the Flames’ cap room at about $4 million after the signing – but it might become regrettable once Calgary really fires up negotiations with players on expiring contracts.

Just look at the most noteworthy contributors who only have one year left on their current deals:

Top UFAs after 2015-16

Mark Giordano
Jiri Hudler
Kris Russell
Jonas Hiller
Karri Ramo

Top RFAs after 2015-16

Johnny Gaudreau
Sean Monahan


Even pondering the savings they’d potentially enjoy from switching up goalies – Hiller and Ramo are a tough investment at a combined $8.3 million cap hit – that’s a formidable set of negotiations for the franchise.

Bouma, 25, brings energy and hustle to the table, yet many probably hoped that the Flames would save a little money on a player who isn’t expected to light up the scoreboard.

Stars’ Hemsky can already ‘feel the difference’ from hip surgery

Ales Hemsky

It seems like it’s been all about hype and hip surgeries lately for the Dallas Stars.

Ales Hemsky ranked among those who underwent a procedure recently, joining a group that included Jamie Benn this offseason (while Carl Klingberg and Valeri Nichushkin also went under the knife). The 31-year-old raved about his decision to do so to the Dallas Morning News.

“I can already feel I have more motion,” Hemsky said. “It’s just been two months and I know I have a long way to go, but I can feel the difference.”

Injuries have been an unfortunately common issue during the skilled winger’s career, yet he seemed especially hampered in his first season with the Stars.

Despite playing in a respectable 76 games in 2014-15, he was limited to 11 goals and 32 points. Hemsky seems pretty sure that things will go more smoothly next season, at least physically speaking.

As a wild card for a team hoping to make a significant jump after all of those splashy additions, it’s intriguing to note that Hemsky actually welcomes the pressure for next season.

“It’s nice to have hype,” Hemsky said. “If you don’t have hype, you don’t have passion. I like having the passion and expectations.”

Considering his past as a long-suffering Edmonton Oiler, it’s probably a welcome change … but a healthy season would be a breath of fresh air, as well.

PHT Morning Skate: Cobra hearts, scorpions and a Blackhawks-shaped maze


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Naming three teams who made the playoffs last season who might not (and three who missed it, yet might make it). (The Hockey News)

The 10 best seasons for players at age 40 and older. (Sportsnet)

A hockey historian shares some childhood memories of Ken Dryden. (Greatest Hockey Legends)

Congrats to Mark Letestu on the birth of his baby girl Blake Ashley:

The Chicago Blackhawks’ 2015 Stanley Cup run inspired this elaborate corn maze:

Want more info on it? CSNChicago.com has you covered.

Washington Capitals prospect Stanislav Galiev cannot be accused of being fearful, at least when it comes to cuisine. For one thing, he ate scorpions in Vietnam:

Think that’s extreme? Try … eating a cobra heart that was still beating.