Chat with Scott Burnside
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com's Scott Burnside will stop by to chat as NHL free agency gets set to start at noon ET.
Before joining ESPN in 2005, he was a reporter for the Windsor Star and Toronto Sun. Burnside has won numerous awards, including the 1990 National Newspaper Award, and also co-authored the best-selling true crime book "Deadly Innocence" in the mid-1990s. He is based in Atlanta.
Send your questions now and join Burnside on Friday at 10:30 a.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (10:30 AM)
Hello all and happy Canada Day. Or, as we like to call it in the NHL, happy Overspend Day. Welcome.
Erik (Steamboat Springs, CO)
Do the Jets (sounds so nice to say that again) look for D help so maybe Pavelec doesn't face 50 shots a game?
Scott Burnside (10:32 AM)
Erik; Not sure it's the personnel or the system when you consider Bogosian, Enstrom, Hainsey, Byfuglien. I think they need to get better down the middle, myself, but it will be interesting to see how the Jets handle themselves in their first free agency. Will they be able to attract quality players? History suggests it's going to be a tough sell just as it is in bringing in top free agents to Edmonton etc.
John (Washington, DC)
Given the Sabres newfound aggression in going after players, and the kinds of deals they seem to be comfortable making (per the 10yr/40m Erhoff deal), do they have to be regarded as players for the biggest names on the market?
Scott Burnside (10:33 AM)
John; Well, new owner Terry Pegula is walking the walk having talked the talk, that's for sure. Can he lure Brad Richards? That's the big prize right now. This is a team that still, in my opinion, needs help up front not just in terms of productivity but in terms of leadership.
Steve Stamkos (Tampa-St. Pete)
Uhh, how much $ did Paul Holmgren just cost me by announcing he's not in? Am I staying put?
Scott Burnside (10:35 AM)
Steve; I don't think it cost you a dime. The Bolts will pay what it takes and they would have matched anything the Flyers or anyone else comes up with in terms of an offer sheet. Question for you is whether you're going to make it easier for GM Steve Yzerman to keep a Cup contending team together as has been the case in Pittsburgh and Chicago with stars like Toews, Kane, Crosby and Malkin.
Do you think the Blue Jackets get Wiz or Hejda signed before noon?
Scott Burnside (10:36 AM)
Joe; Not sure. Have a call out but it's going to be tougher for Scott Howson once one or the both hit the marketplace given how much other teams have to spend.
Doesn't Cole to the Flyers make the most sense with the past connection to Lavy and the need for a top 9 winger?
Scott Burnside (10:37 AM)
Matt; I understand the history between Cole and Peter Laviolette. And I get that it's a thin class in terms of talent. But not sure Cole is the guy to help the Flyers get over the hump. Just my opinion.
Walter (Scranton, PA)
Scott, I thought the Flyers made 2 good trades last week -- after you take the emotion out of it -- but one concern I have is: can JVR now become a legit, #1 line 30-goal+ scorer? He's still very, very young. Thoughts?
Scott Burnside (10:39 AM)
Walter; No question one of the reasons P. Holmgren made those deals is that he feels he's got enough in guys like Leino (whom I think he will re-sign) and James van Riemsdyk to off-set the offensive loss of J. Carter and M. Richards. Thought JVR's playoff performance illustrated a young man finally maturing into his own skin. Young or not I think he'll be able to bring that kind of production.
panthers chances at landing stamkos to an offer sheet?
Scott Burnside (10:39 AM)
Brian; Zero. Dale Tallon will have a few surprises up his sleeve today but that won't be one of them.
rob (buffalo, ny)
do u think richards will land with the sabres?
Scott Burnside (10:41 AM)
rob; A lot of factors for Brad Richards to consider today but he won't be able to ignore the steps the team has taken towards becoming a power in the Eastern Conference. Big day for Richards and for whichever team can convince him that they are the right fit. Sabres will be in there, I'm sure, making that pitch.
Tony (Weymouth, MA)
James Wisniewski over Tomas Kaberle for the Bruins? good fit or bad fit? we need PP help and Kaberle was not the answer.
Scott Burnside (10:42 AM)
Tony; James Wisniewski had a good season in Montreal and would be a definite upgrade over Kaberle. Plays a kind of style that would be more in keeping with Claude Julien's take on the game. And, unlike Kaberle, Wisniewski is not afraid to shoot from the point on the PP.
Jaromir Jagr (New York)
Where should I sign Scott???
Scott Burnside (10:46 AM)
Jaromir; Where the heck are you? Checked all the hospitals and couldn't find you. Please report directly to Mario Lemieux's house. Why would you sign anywhere else? Can't be the money. But how about your legacy, the chance to finish up where it all started? Plus it's a better story than if you sign on Long Island or with the Jets.
Casey (Brooklyn, NY)
Are there any other free agents the Rangers will try to pursue other than Richards?
Scott Burnside (10:47 AM)
Casey; I'm sure GM Glen Sather has a Plan B (he'd better given that I don't think it's better than 50-50 Richards signs in New York). But there aren't a lot of options especially down the middle. Jason Arnott? Maybe for one year. Marcel Goc? Interesting in that he is skilled but injury prone. Maybe a big, veteran defenseman to replace Bryan McCabe. What about Ian White or Ed Jovanovski?
Geoffrey (Saginaw, Mi)
The Red Wings were missing intangibles last year. Who do you think they should target to correct that?
Scott Burnside (10:50 AM)
Geoffrey; Well they don't really need help down the middle but what about taking a run at Brad Richards? It'd be a good spot for Richards to take another run at another Cup (or many). They will need to fill the Brian Rafalski hole on the blue line and with Ehrhoff signing in Buffalo that'll mean looking at a guy like Jovanovski or perhaps even Kaberle who may fit in better with the Wings than he did in Boston. Also, watch for Ken Holland to try and fill the back-up spot behind Jimmy Howard assuming he's going to part ways with Chris Osgood.
Tom (Trenton, MO)
In a real general sense, where do you see the Wild going in free agency? Anything even close in the way of a big splash?
Scott Burnside (10:53 AM)
Tom; Well, I will be surprised if Chuck Fletcher doesn't try and add some size and experience to his blue line having dealt Brent Burns to San Jose in the Devin Setoguchi deal. Ian White might be a nice, economical fit there. James Wisniewski might have priced himself out of the Wild's budget but for a team that desperately needs to be better offensively he would be an upgrade and would better fill the vacuum created by Burns's departure.
Do you think agents and FA's will be less likely to trust Holmgren going forward, after he traded 2 players with long-term contracts who were 1 year away from NMC's kicking in?
Scott Burnside (10:55 AM)
Erik; That's a great question and I know there were a number of us at the draft asking GMs that same general question; what about the implied loyalty when you sign a player to that kind of deal. But I think most players understand it's a business. That's why you have no-trades or no-movement clauses and until they kcik in there isn't a lot you can do about these kinds of moves.
The Kings could do with a couple of top 4 wingers IMO, who do you think they are looking at? Cole? Leino? Gagne?
Scott Burnside (10:56 AM)
Jeff; No question in talking to Dean Lombardi at the draft he was going to be out hunting for a player to replace Ryan Smyth, whom he didn't want to trade. Funny that he solves his issues down the middle with M. Richards but must now find a guy with some sand and skill. Leino would be a nice fit if the Flyers don't keep him. But it'll be a steep price I would think given the interest there will be in him if he hits the market. Cole has played with Justin Williams and Gagne played for assistant coach John Stevens but remains too brittle, in my mind.
Tyson (Chicago, IL)
Do you say any big moves for the Blackhawks today? Bowman said not to expect anything, that they want to keep money available for in-season moves. You buying that?
Scott Burnside (10:59 AM)
Tyson; I think after last season Stan Bowman will be keeping his powder dry for the regular season. He has shed some salary in Campbell and added a big body with skill in Olesz and signed a solid 5/6 defenseman in Steve Montador. I would think it's more tinkering today than anything else.
Scott with Jagr's return to the NHL, is there any chance you will write an article on..."the top 10 hockey mullets of all time" ?
Scott Burnside (10:59 AM)
JED: No, Barry Melrose will write that one. It will be entitled; Mullets I Have Known And Envied.
Any chance the Caps trade Semin or Green this offseason?
Scott Burnside (11:00 AM)
Andrew; I think unless George McPhee sees a big opportunity to upgrade down the middle or along the blue line those guys will remain in the fold. That said, if he wanted to take a run at Brad Richards he would need to shed at least one of those players. Is there a market for one or both? I would think there is.
John (Aurora, CO)
Any chances that the Avs make a big splash aside from going after Jovanovski and Vokoun? Any forwards? Who?
Scott Burnside (11:04 AM)
John; The Avs have money to spend and having made the blockbuster deal to acquire Erik Johnson last winter I would think they'll want to add a couple of pieces to ensure the playoffs will be back in sight. Tomas Fleischmann insists he has his blood clot issue under control and that was a nice pick-up for GM Greg Sherman. Keeping the skilled winger would be a good place to start. And of course getting a goaltender will be priority one. If not Vokoun Sherman will have to get creative. Stay tuned on that front.
Will the Canucks add anybody to help them make another run for the cup, or will they try and get their with the team they had last season?
Scott Burnside (11:06 AM)
John; Given that they've kept Bieksa and Lapierre in the fold while bidding adieu to Ehrhoff I wouldn't be surprised to see Mike Gillis try and add some defensive depth because that was his blueprint for success last year; you can never have enough D. But this is a team that won't look dramatically different next fall and that's not a bad thing.
How do I justify paying James Wisniewski $33 mill over 6?
Scott Burnside (11:10 AM)
Insanity; Still trying to confirm that number although it looks like it's accurate. As for justification? Well, it is the NHL. You've got to spend the money somewhere. Could be worse. Could be Tomas Kaberle. And if Wisniewski and Carter et al can push the Blue Jackets into the playoffs it will all be money well-spent (at least in theory and at least for one year).
Do you see the Devils making any moves at all today? Maybe resigning Greene and/or Hedberg, if nothing else? Does not having a coach hurt them at all when it comes to signing free agents?
Scott Burnside (11:11 AM)
Ross; I doubt if Hedberg will be back as I assume at some point Lou will start looking to the future in terms of replacing Martin Brodeur. The Devils would definitely like to get Greene back. As for not having a coach it might be a slight issue but it's not as though the Devils are going to hire a guy that will suddenly introduce a west coast offense. The Devils are who they are and players know that going in.
Nick (Long Island)
Who do you think the Islanders will go after?
Scott Burnside (11:15 AM)
Nick; I think the fact GM Garth Snow went after Ehrhoff suggests he'd like to add another veteran defenseman. A lot of interesting parts of the Islanders who I think could be a playoff team if they can get their goaltending squared away. They are a team that will, until they start winning or move to a new home, will struggle to attract free agents. That sometimes means waiting until the smoke clears and players are more agreeable to looking at other options like an emerging Islander team.
What do the Canadiens do to stay relevant and comeptitive?
Scott Burnside (11:16 AM)
Thos; Welcome from Iceland. Well, keeping Andrei Markov healthy will be a start. Still wonder about the team's lack of size up front. If Jagr joins friend Tomas Plekanec it adds another dimension up front but I still think they need to get bigger down the middle and along the wings.
Tom (Lincoln Park)
Scott, where do you think the Wings look for a backup goalie? It doesn't look like Ozzie will be back, and Howard played way too many games last year.
Scott Burnside (11:19 AM)
Tom; Someone suggest Ty Conklin who was terrific when he was a member of the Wings. Always a big fan of Mr. Conklin who can do as much or as little as you need him to do. What about Jose Theodore who still has game and played well when given a chance in Minnesota last season? Ray Emery might be too much of a stretch for the Wings given his injury issues. But how about Brian Boucher or Marty Turco? Good spot for any of those guys who are more than capable of playing 35 to 40 games.
Dave (San Jose)
What moves do you think make the most sense for the Sharks? Is there a d man out there they could land?
Scott Burnside (11:21 AM)
Dave; I think the Sharks' moves have been made with the acquisition of Brent Burns. Might actually be the long-awaited missing link. Doug Wilson likes to give himself some wiggle room against the cap for in-season moves so I will be surprised if he has a major move in store for today.
Do the rangers need more than brad richards to take the next step to becoming a better team
Scott Burnside (11:22 AM)
Andrew; Yes, and that's why I'll be surprised if the Rangers end up signing Richards. Still not enough depth down the middle even with Richards. Not enough depth scoring along the wings. The defense is certainly capable and goaltending is solid as is the coaching but they're still more than one move away from a Cup run.
Brian (Fairfax, VA)
Scott, fresh off of his... 'less than inspiring' performance after the trade from Toronto, where do you think Tomas Kaberle ends up? And how much of a pay cut is he looking at?
Scott Burnside (11:25 AM)
Brian; The thing with Kaberle is that he can still move the puck and help out on the PP (yes, you'd never know if by watching in Boston) and there simply aren't players like him available. So, does he end up playing for $3 million or so in a place like Phoenix? Or Detroit? Or Minnesota?
Tyler (WARREN, PA)
Of all the people that are getting over-paid today, who do you think will cash in the most?
Scott Burnside (11:30 AM)
Tyler; Well with Wisniewski and Ehrhoff already setting the bar pretty high I wonder about a guy like Erik Cole or Kaberle. Lots of GMs have lots of money to spend and those are two guys that could end up with a lot more money than their play would suggest they are due.
Can you Marty Turco landing a starting job or is he back up bound? Awful year last year!
Scott Burnside (11:31 AM)
Dan; Just got a note from Mr. Turco. He'll have to earn a starting job somewhere but he seems happy to give it a shot. Lots of teams still looking for goaltending depth if not a starter so I am sure he'll find work somewhere.
Mike (Carlisle, PA)
Scott, with Laich's deal giving him $4.5 M annaully. What do you think Tyler Kennedy will command? I heard talks of $2M between him and the Pens. Is that enough?
Scott Burnside (11:32 AM)
Mike; Kennedy's strong play in the absence of Malkin and Crosby has seen his value jump but he does want to stay in Pittsburgh so am guessing it will be in the $2 million range even if he might earn slightly more on the open market.
Bob (Ottowa )
will spezza be traded?
Scott Burnside (11:32 AM)
Bob; Doubtful. Sens need offensive help down the middle not to off-load it.
Scott Burnside (11:33 AM)
Alright folks, the clock is ticking down to the spend-a-thon. Thanks for dropping by and we'll reconvene soon.