James O'Brien

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

Zach Parise returns for Wild on Sunday

The Florida Panthers made some big moves heading into the trade deadline, but their opponent enjoys the bigger addition on Sunday.

While Jiri Hudler & Co. aren’t going to make it for the Panthers, the Minnesota Wild welcome Zach Parise back into the lineup this afternoon.

Parise missed the past two games with an upper-body injury. He’s been effective as usual this season, at least when he’s been healthy.

Blockbuster trade: Rangers get Eric Staal, Hurricanes look to future


The New York Rangers love landing the big fish, and that description certainly applies to Eric Staal.

Here are the official details, via the Rangers:

Rangers get: Eric Staal.

Hurricanes receive: Aleksi Saarela, plus two second-round picks (one in 2016, the other in 2017).


Reporters filled in other details regarding the move.

To little surprise, it sounds like the Hurricanes will retain a big chunk of Staal’s cap hit:

The Rangers keep spending big for short-term gains that could bring long-term pain. The Rangers only have one pick in the top two rounds of the next two drafts: their first in 2017.

It’s difficult to forecast where Staal fits in among the Rangers forward, but when everyone’s at or near full-strength, it would certainly be fun to see him line up with Rick Nash.

The Hurricanes swallowed a bitter pill in trading away the face of their franchise, ending an era that hasn’t been successful since Staal guided them to a surprise Stanley Cup victory.

(Side note: there’s nothing stopping Eric Staal from returning to the Hurricanes as a free agent this summer, however.)

Moving along, people are positive about Saarela’s potential.

Ultimately, the takeaway is all a matter of perspective.

The Hurricanes are bulking up on draft picks, if nothing else.

In an amusing twist, Eric goes from playing with one brother in Carolina (Jordan Staal) to another with the Rangers in Marc Staal.

It should be fascinating to see how Staal responds to this situation. Rangers fans will expect a lot, and he’ll deal with a ton of spotlight in New York. On the other hand, he can earn himself a ton of money and security if he helps the Rangers make a deep playoff run.

Names in the trade rumor mill: Eric Staal, Dan Hamhuis and more


Loui Eriksson isn’t the only big or interesting name on “trade watch” right now.

In fact, there are enough that it’s probably easiest to rattle them off in one convenient post:

  • Eric Staal is the biggest name – more marketable than Eriksson, you could probably argue – and he may go from the Carolina Hurricanes to one of the NHL’s glitziest teams (which happens to be addicted to these types of moves).

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Hurricanes and New York Rangers are trying to hash out a trade, and we may very well reach a resolution today:

Update: The Staal-to-Rangers rumors are only intensifying.

  • McKenzie reports that the Minnesota Wild were at least gauging interest in blueliner Jonas Brodin, though that might not be imminent.

  • P.A. Parenteau got hurt this weekend, yet it doesn’t sound like it would keep the Toronto Maple Leafs from moving him:

  • Finally, Radim Vrbata could also be in the mix for a potentially busy Canucks deadline … or not.

Long story short? Don’t just keep an eye on things tomorrow; there could be big moves today, too. You know, unless such swaps don’t work out …

Busy wire day, too: Laich clears, Berra and Rinaldo on waivers


A busy day heading into the twilight of the trade deadline brings about other moves, including a boatload of activity on waivers.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie makes it easy for us all by compiling them all in a handful of tweets.

Waived, according to McKenzieAlex Stalock, Reto Berra, Rene Bourque, Mike Brown, David Warsofsky, Adam Cracknell, Adam Pardy and Zac Rinaldo.

Berra’s an interesting consideration, as he’s shown flashes of brilliance despite arguably being a little pricey when it comes the the assets Colorado spent to acquire and then keep him.

Stalock is noteworthy as he was part of the James Reimer trade, but won’t get an immediate look in Toronto.

Finally, Rinaldo tends to make waves when he plays in the NHL …

Clearing waivers, via McKenzie: Maxime Talbot, Chris Porter and Brooks Laich.

Laich is playing for Washington as of this writing.

WATCH LIVE: Washington Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks on NBC


While the Washington Capitals continue to distance themselves from the rest of the NHL atop the standings, the Chicago Blackhawks dropped the gauntlet close to the trade deadline.

Adding Andrew Ladd to the Blackhawks’ mix brings the defending champion up another level, and that’s scary for the rest of the West.

It also spices up an already intriguing Sunday matchup on NBC, as Capitals vs. Blackhawks could very well be the matchup hockey fans see in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Even if that doesn’t happen, there’s so much talent on both sides that you should tune in either way.


There are also two games on NBCSN today.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins (link here)

Then: Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim Ducks (link here)