Chat with Barry Melrose
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN NHL analyst Barry Melrose will drop by to take your questions about the NHL season.
Melrose re-joined ESPN after coaching the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first part of the 2008-09 season. He first started with ESPN after coaching the Los Angeles Kings to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals and was a commentator on ESPN and ABC since 1995. Melrose made his NHL debut with the Winnipeg Jets in 1979. A defenseman, he played for the Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings before retiring after the 1986 season.
Send your questions now and join Barry Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Did the Rangers move into the discussion with the Penguins and Bruins of who comes out of the East? Can either of the 3 beat whoever comes out of the West anyway?
Barry Melrose (3:02 PM)
No, I don't think so. I think the Bruins and Penguins are quite a bit better than the Rangers.
Ed (Queens Village)
What is Rangers ceiling with MSL? I believe they can win a series but ECF or SC not sure of.
Barry Melrose (3:03 PM)
They're a better team. Callahan was a real character guy, played hard. St. Louis was a much better player. He'll make their special teams better. I think they've created a lot more problems for teams than they were yesterday.
Adam (New York)
With the Acquisition of RL to stabilize the Goalie Front and with the resigning of Boyes to a Two year deal and with 14 million in cap space and an owner who says he wants to spend, could we see the Panthers being a player for a Vanek, Statsny; Callahan & Oprik
Barry Melrose (3:03 PM)
Yeah, the owner has said he wants to spend money. They have some young players that are good. But you're going to have to overpay to get players to come to Florida. That's part of the problem.
Colin (New York)
Coach, do you see the Rangers taking the same stance with Staal next season that they did with Callahan? Another tough leader but also with a long injury history
Barry Melrose (3:04 PM)
If they do it with Callahan, they'll do it to anybody. That proved that nobody is untouchable to the Rangers. If they feel like you want too long of a contract or too much money, they'll cut you free.
ted (cape cod)
Do you think the Boston Bruins did enough at the trade deadline yesterday?
Barry Melrose (3:05 PM)
They got a good defenseman. He's a good skater. Good shot. He'll have to change a little bit to play Boston's style. But if you look at the guys available, it was about the best they could do.
Lonny (Blaine, Mn)
Do you know if the Islanders were ever offered a first round pick for Vanek?
Barry Melrose (3:06 PM)
They tried. That deal didn't happen until about 3 p.m. They tried all day long to get a better deal but there wasn't a deal out there. Teams knew that he wasn't going to sign long term. He is a rental player and teams know that. A bad day for the Islanders.
The Kings biggest need was a quality LW for their top 6. While Gaborik does bring a heavy left shot, he's primarily played RW in his career. Can you see him being comfortable on the left side with a new team, or are they best served leaving him at RW where he is comfortable?
Barry Melrose (3:07 PM)
I think he can play any spot. That's not a problem. They did want a left handed shot on the PP to give them another weapon. The question for me is he's so different than Sutter likes. It will be interesting to see how it works.
Barry, thanks for doing these chats, especially yesterday's trade deadline chat all morning! Now that the dust is settling, what are are your new predictions for the WCF and ECF? Do you think any potential playoff team significantly helped or hurt their chances?
Barry Melrose (3:08 PM)
It doesn't really change anything. Boston is still the best in the East. Tampa is stronger. I love Chicago. I don't think enough was done by the lesser clubs to change the pecking order at the top.
Which Marc Andre Fleury will we see in the playoffs? Boom or Bust?
Barry Melrose (3:08 PM)
Well, if it's the bust version, that's three years in a row. Pittsburgh will have to do something at that point. He's won the Cup. If that version shows up, they can beat anybody.
What moves could the flyers make in the offseason to improve their blueline? what are some names available? What could brayden schenn + prospects bring back?
Barry Melrose (3:09 PM)
They have added a lot of defensemen at the deadline. And they have one of the best young defensemen in college hockey. They've made a lot of changes to their defense. It's a young group, big group. They might not skate as well as you'd like. But with the addition of McDonald, their defense looks good.
Do you think Detroit will make the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (3:10 PM)
Yeah. I still think they're one of the eight best in the East. They're not great, but they're one of the top 8 in the East.
Barry I know the Pens did not get Kesler but they added some bottom 6 depth. Do you think they did enough to get better?
Barry Melrose (3:11 PM)
They had good moves. They got good secondary scorers. They can put pucks in the net. They fit in with what Pittsburgh does. They had good under the radar moves. I thought they'd try to get a defenseman, but they couldn't pull it off.
If Callie wanted to stay in NY, how much blame does he (and his agent) deserve for standing firm on an offer that was way over the top for him?
Barry Melrose (3:12 PM)
People forget that Callahan could have lowered his demands. For a little bit less money and less years, he could have been the captain for another five years. You shouldn't feel sorry for him at all. When you're playing poker and you have a hand and you stand on it, New York called him on it and a trade was made.
Barry, do you think Colorado opting NOT to trade Paul Stastny will lead to him walking away for nothing this summer? Wise move by Sakic and Roy to hold on to him or should they have moved him?
Barry Melrose (3:13 PM)
If he wants to stay, he'll have to take less money. Them not trading him sends a message that they think they have a chance to re-sign him. But it will be a different contract than he has now.
Central Division Finals, who wins: Chicago or St. Louis?
Barry Melrose (3:13 PM)
I think St. Louis will come out on top. They have a few games in hand. 20 games happens quick. I think they get more points in the next 20 games.
Does Edmonton have to move one of their core young guys such as Jordan Eberle in the off season via trade to get better?
Barry Melrose (3:14 PM)
Yeah, I do. I think they have to part with some of those kids. They need an influx of character. They're going to draft high again. But to get that guy, they might have to move one of their kids. Having all of those kids isn't working, right? They haven' made the playoffs in years.
Gene Mullett (Columbus, OH)
What's happened to Gaborik? We can't blame his scoring demise all on Torts anymore.
Barry Melrose (3:15 PM)
He's hurt all of the time. For a guy that doesn't play a physical game, he's had a lot of injuries. That's the only thing you can point to. He has been hurt a lot in his career.
Barry Melrose (3:16 PM)
Exciting trade deadline. There will be an exciting final 20 games to the season!