Chat with Scott Burnside
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's Scott Burnside will stop by to chat about the NHL's latest news and events.
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 Thursday at noon ET!
Scott Burnside (12:00 PM)
Hello all. Welcome to our first post-Olympic chat. Trade deadline around the corner and the playoffs around the next corner. Hang on. Now, where were we?
Uncle Greg (Schenectady, NY)
What kind of 'real value' (ie picks, players) can the Islanders expect for Thomas Vanek? What teams are the most likely landing place? With all the criticism he gets - he is a scorer and that is the bottom line isn't it? Thanks Scott!
Scott Burnside (12:01 PM)
Uncle Greg; I think he's still a first-round pick and a top prospect kind of asset. Yes, a true rental which isn't nearly as attractive as it used to be given the cap system etc. etc. But if you're Los Angeles Kings GM Dean Lombardi I think you swallow hard and offer one of the kids from Manchester and a first-rounder. A la Jeff Carter could tip the balance in a big way for the Kings.
What is prediction for men's hockey in Pyeongchang?
Scott Burnside (12:03 PM)
Putin: I remain convinced the NHL will again return to the Olympics in four years even if it's going to take me the entire time to learn how to spell Pyeongchang without having to look it up.
Scott - what are the realistic targets for Nashville? Vanek doesn't seem like a logical choice without some type of assurance of being first in line for re-signing which is highly unlikely. Gagner is a good young player but not really a game changer. Or does it make sense to stand pat since the impending return of Rinne is the biggest acquisition they can get? Thanks.
Scott Burnside (12:04 PM)
Boyd; I think the question isn't what is added but what or who goes out. Hard to imagine David Poile keeping David Legwand if he doesn't think he can re-sign him and there will be interest in Legwand given there are few centers available heading into next Wednesday's trade deadline.
Kesler to the Penguins??
Scott Burnside (12:06 PM)
Greg; Interesting idea but wondering if he really fits the bill given the depth the Pens already possess down the middle.
Hi Scott. Why can't the Rangers just pay Girardi and Callahan and buy out Richards? The few extra million they need to fork up will be worth it in the long run rather than paying Richards his ridiculous annual salary. Maybe with the money they can save on Richard's contract they can afford to take on a contract like Ryan Kessler's and maybe make a move involving Stepan and some picks.
Scott Burnside (12:08 PM)
Garrett; I think it's a fair question but it's not just paying both players but the dollar combined with the term. They would, I believe, gladly pay Callahan over the next five years. But they apparently will not over seven years and that's what Callahan right now wants. Richards is a separate issue although the buyout option looms large pending how things unfold in the coming months. I think the priority is to keep Girardi given his importance to a key part of the Ranger team. Callahan is less of a priority, fair or not.
I don't see the Blackhawks making many moves. The only move I might see them making is possibly for another defenseman like Andrew McDonald who they could fit into their cap.
Scott Burnside (12:10 PM)
Matt; I think you're looking at a similar move to last year, Michal Handzus or Michal Rozsival, depth players who ended up being important to the Cup run. My question is whether Antti Raanta is the answer as the playoff backup to Corey Crawford. The 'Hawks as it turned out didn't need Ray Emery last spring. Maybe they won't need anyone this spring. Maybe.
Do you see the Stars as a fit for Ryan Kesler?
Scott Burnside (12:12 PM)
Sean; I think Ryan Kesler is a fit just about anywhere but hard to imagine Vancouver doing a deal with a team nipping at their playoff heels. Now, come draft time does a deal make sense? Stars need to figure out their identity and with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin forming a top-end duo up front I would think the priority has to be in re-defining the blue line. Would Kesler fit with that young group up front? Sure. The cost is the question and the Stars can't afford to be selling off top-end young assets for a player with a history of injury issues no matter how effective he is when he's healthy.
Hi Scott, during the games some younger players impressed me: Tomas Tatar, Ryan McDonagh, Mikael Granlund all look ready to break out. Did any young players stand out to you?
Scott Burnside (12:13 PM)
Matt; I would agree on all those players. Olli Maatta from Pittsburgh was excellent, too. Cam Fowler was terrific for the U.S.
How realistic is it that St. Louis gets moved at the deadline? Even if he's disgruntled at the moment I cant see it happening with Tampa being in a playoff position.
Scott Burnside (12:16 PM)
Pete; Real dilemma for Steve Yzerman. St. Louis is a pro so you know his feelings about his treatment aren't going to effect his on-ice play (see his play after Team Canada was first announced) so no pressure to deal him by next week. But do you want a player around at the most crucial part of the season that has made it clear he isn't happy? Tough call given that the Bolts have a real shot at winning at least one round. He is a player who might be easier to move at the draft which adds to the variables. Of course St. Louis controls his fate via a no trade clause so nothing is going to be simple.
Chris (Virginia Beach)
Scott,What happens to the back-up goalie situation in Pittsburgh now that Vokun is back at practice? Obviously Pens fans are all to familiar with the need for a reliable #2 in the playoffs and despite Zakoff's strong play this year, he's still never seen any action beyond this season. Thanks.
Scott Burnside (12:19 PM)
Chris; Another interesting one to watch over the next week. Yes, Vokoun back skating but what are the chances he will be in playoff shape having missed 60 games? And yes, Zatkoff impressive but is he really a Plan B if M.A. Fleury goes sideways again? Not sure Ryan Miller is the answer given the potential price tag but what about a Martin Brodeur or Tim Thomas? Ray Shero may choose to stand pat and let the chips fall but that's a pretty significant risk given Fleury's playoff performance the past three years or so.
If you were the Blue Jackets, who would you pursue at the trade deadline (if anyone)?
Scott Burnside (12:21 PM)
Dave; I think the bigger question for Jarmo Kekalainen is what to do with Marian Gaborik? Does the oft-injured sniper bring home assets that could be turned into something more long-lasting or does his place in the lineup get the Blue Jackets over the playoff hump? Me, I'd deal Gaborik and hope to get a decent prospect or maybe a second-round pick and let this team go where it goes given how nicely they've come together in recent weeks.
What do you think of the young talent the Devils have? Boucher, Gellinas, Matteau, Gionta, etc. Seems like the future is bright no?
Scott Burnside (12:23 PM)
Tim; Bright I guess is a relative term. Yes, definitely like Gelinas although whatever happened to Adam Larsson? Top draft pick has yet to develop as expected. And this is a team that still lacks top-end scoring and until that franchise scorer comes along my suspicion is that the Devils will always be a team scrambling to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Who ends up with the President's Trophy?
Scott Burnside (12:25 PM)
Do you think the Avs will be buyers as the deadline approaches. Seems to me that they would like some more stability along the blueline? Maybe go after Andy McDonald - or what about a player like Brooks Orpik, whose in the last year of his deal? Any of those a possibility?
Scott Burnside (12:27 PM)
Nate; If there's a position of strength from which the Avs deal it's offense so a guy like P.A. Parenteau, whom I think is terrific, might be an asset they could move in order to bring in some defensive depth. They should be locked into a post-season berth but will play either Chicago or St. Louis in the first round. To have a shot they'll have to be better defensively. Still, a nice problem to have for a team with modest expectations at the start of the season.
Ron (dallas) [via mobile]
What do you think are possible destinations for moulson or ott? What will it take for a team to acquire them?
Scott Burnside (12:29 PM)
Ron; Moulson is a good Plan B for a team interested in Vanek but not wanting to pay too much. Kings? Pending what the Lightning do with St. Louis a spot there. Pittsburgh is an option frankly for both Moulson or Ott given Ott's Matt Cooke-like qualities. Moulson will likely fetch a first-round pick or a good almost ready prospect Ott somewhat less.
Is there a big named player not really being talked about that could be moved at the deadline?
Scott Burnside (12:32 PM)
Connor; With guys like Kesler, St. Louis, Vanek, Brodeur all being mentioned in potential deals that's a lot of quality to be considering. A dark horse? What about Kris Letang? Has a limited no-trade clause and his new monster deal doesn't even kick in until next season but maybe Ray Shero finds a taker given his depth on the blue line. Just a thought.
Do you think Bylsma gets the nod to coach again in 2018 (if the NHL participates)? Who are some other options?
Scott Burnside (12:35 PM)
Luke; Too hard to tell right now. I know some criticism of Bylsma for his team's performance against Canada and Finland in semis and bronze medal game but I thought he did a nice job getting this team into a groove. Is there another young American coach on the horizon? Interesting to see what career arc Todd Richards follows but not sure there's an obvious successor right now.
Steve (stl) [via mobile]
Do you see miller as a good fit for the blues? What would we have to give up? Thanks
Scott Burnside (12:36 PM)
Steve; I love Ryan Miller as a Blue. My guess is team's confidence playing in front of him would be significantly different come playoff time than with Halak or Elliott given struggles both have had with performance and injury at the most critical time of the year. First-round pick maybe a prospect. Sabres would likely have to eat some money or take a player like Chris Stewart off the Blues' hands.
Derek (New Mexico)
Yeah but didn't Letang just have a stroke? Is that something you really come back from?
Scott Burnside (12:38 PM)
Derek; Certainly health issues would be a consideration but my belief is that the expectation is that Letang will be able to make a full recovery. Easy to say now I suppose but that's my sense.
If you're George McPhee, which players of the following do you go after, and how serious are you about landing them? Miller, Girardi, MacDonald, Kessler? And is there any chance the Caps will be able to unload Erat in the process of a deal?
Scott Burnside (12:40 PM)
Joe; Caps are one of the great NHL enigmas. What is their goaltending situation? Is it Holtby? Neuvirth? Grubauer? Everything flows from there for me. True, depth scoring is an issue and depth on the blue line so yes to all those players. But for a team that's not even in the playoff grid right now I'm not sure how much sense it makes to be shedding young assets to bring in players that might not even be playing in mid-April. As for Erat I spoke to him in Sochi. He hopes to turn things around but not sure there's much of a market for a one-goal guy.
John (UT) [via mobile]
Scott, what do you think the Ducks need to give up to acquire Dan Girardi from the NY Rangers?
Scott Burnside (12:43 PM)
John; My guess is the Rangers re-up Girardi but he would be quite the catch for the Ducks and would likely cost one of the team's speedy, talented young forwards. Just don't see Girardi moving unless he indicates to Glen Sather he won't sign under any condition and wants to hit the market on July 1. Girardi as a Duck ups their Cup quotient significantly though.
Do you think if the NHL brings back the World Cup, that it will actually stick? It won't mean anything if they just periodically host it (e.g. The gap between 1996 until 2004...and none since). IMO it needs to be every 2 or 4 years and set it in stone. Thoughts?
Scott Burnside (12:45 PM)
JY; Agreed that the World Cup of Hockey is the Little Orphan Annie of hockey tournaments. But NHL and NHLPA want a best on best tournament that they control both in terms of format and revenues so it will happen. Guessing fall of 2015 in order to avoid 2016 Olympics and a schedule that is dependent on whether NHL returns to Olympics. Could go fall '15 and then fall '20 and then every four years around Olympic schedule.
Sam (St. Paul)
bring Vanek back to Minnesota! any chance this happens or will we have to wait until summer to try when the waste of space heatley comes off the books
Scott Burnside (12:46 PM)
Sam; Thought Dany Heatley has actually played better leading into the break. But your point is well-taken. Makes more sense for Wild to pursue Vanek in the off-season. Everyone assumes it will get done but do the Wild have the room to commit dollar/term to Vanek (guessing seven times seven to start) with Parise/Suter deals? Even with the cap going up that's a big chunk of change for three players.
Jazzy Jeff (Holbrook, NY)
Hi Scott. Who finishes 6,7,8 in the East when the dust finally settles? thanks!
Scott Burnside (12:50 PM)
Jazzy; Have to say I have no feel right now. Like Rangers in the two spot in Metro, Tampa, Montreal in two/three in Atlantic. Let's put Toronto in the first wild card and that leaves the third in Metro and second wild card. Philly and Detroit should be in the drivers' seat but really have no vibe that either can hang onto those spots. Personally would love to see Columbus hang in and sneak into second wild card spot or that third spot in the Metro.
The Bean (Yellowknife NW Terr)
Mr Burnside - I'm 24, can I expect my Oilers to win the Stanley Cup at some point in my lifetime!!! thank u sir.
Scott Burnside (12:52 PM)
The Bean; Here's hoping you have a long and fruitful life. And sure, just not sure it will be before your Canada pension plan kicks in.
Even if they did bring the world cup of hockey back and nixed the Olympics wouldnt the same risks still exist. The only real difference would be that it would most likely be played in the offseason instead of the winter. But even then the risk of injury is still there. Players who had a long playoff run would not be getting much rest. Plus who pays for all of this to happen? Don't get me wrong - I would definitely watch but if this gets traction I feel that the owners would voice some serious concerns. Thoughts?
Scott Burnside (12:53 PM)
Lance; You are exactly correct. Injury issues are real and they were a big part of the Sochi Olympics. But they would/could be the same in a World Cup of Hockey. Just easier for the NHL/NHLPA to show a real benefit to this kind of tournament because they control broadcast rights, etc. etc. which they don't with Olympics. And a World Cup wouldn't interrupt the regular season which is a big deal for the owners.
Any chance Tim Thomas gets dealt, possibly to the Pens. He seems like the perfect acquisition that could (1) legitimately play if needed, (2) push or replace Fleury if he falters, and (3) he's cheap and is a UFA after the season.
Scott Burnside (12:55 PM)
Lou; I think it'll be up to Thomas who has a no-move clause but even if Dale Tallon wanted to bring him back to help with the kids next season nothing stopping him from dealing him to say Pittsburgh or Chicago or even Minnesota and then re-signing him in the summer.
Scottie,What happens w/ Danny Boyle. I dont see him getting traded, but does he resign w/ the sharks?
Scott Burnside (12:56 PM)
Steven; Agreed. Hard to see Doug Wilson parting with Boyle even if the two may not be on the same page vis a vis term for a new contract. One of those rare times I think where a team will simply accept the risk of seeing Boyle go somewhere else because he can get another year or two on a new deal. Good player for the Sharks, though, and an important part of a team that has a legitimate shot at a Cup.
endroit12 (sf, ca)
haven't seen a Bruins question yet, so here goes: after last night's display, do you think the Bruins bring in more than just a 'depth defenseman'? (such as a back up with experience like Brodeur) Also, any word on what 'depth defenseman' the Bruins are looking to go after?
Scott Burnside (12:58 PM)
endroit; Problem in trying to find a guy to fill the big hole created by Dennis Seidenberg's loss (people just don't get how good he is) is that there are so few defensemen available. If he gets healthy I love Stephane Robidas but coming off serious injury. Zero chance Rangers trade Girardi to Bruins. What about a Tom Gilbert who has bounced around a bit but would fit nicely with Claude Julien?
Will all of the health questions for the Wild at the tender position do you see them picking up a veteran to back up Kemper just to ride out the first round and maybe the second round (heres to hoping) in the playoffs. Or do they just hope that nothing happens to Darcy on days where Backstrom is not good enough to go?
Scott Burnside (1:00 PM)
matt; If the rumblings are true and Josh Harding's availability is going to be in question long-term I don't see how Chuck Fletcher hits the post-season with the Kuemper/Backstrom tandem. Kuemper has been excellent but Backstrom isn't durable enough nor has he played well enough to be a viable Plan B if Kuemper falters. Expect Chuck Fletcher will be looking hard at all the goaltending options before March 5.
Scott Burnside (1:01 PM)
Okay folks thanks for stopping by. Let's do it again next week. Be well.