Chat with Pierre LeBrun
Based in Toronto, LeBrun joined ESPN in September 2008 after spending 13 years with The Canadian Press as its national hockey columnist. LeBrun was also a contributor to Rogers Sportsnet and a regular guest on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada."
Send your questions for now and join LeBrun in The Show on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Pierre LeBrun (4:00 PM)
Let's talk trade deadline puck heads !!!
Rob (Newark, DE)
Pierre......I think the Flyers are in a weird position, right now. They have a very good team, and the cap is restricting them from adding salary. So, any move they make will see them trading away some pricey talent. Do you see them doing anything? Is there any kind of market for Biron? I would love to see them lose his salary, to fit Briere in, and keep players like Lupul and Upshall.
Pierre LeBrun (4:03 PM)
The Flyers are indeed an interesting team to watch heading into the deadline. I'm told they've kept tabs on both Bouwmeester and Pronger and would love to have a chance to acquire one of them but like you pointed out Rob, the cap is an issue. GM Paul Holmgren needs to find a way to make some space. Something to keep in mind is that Toronto has lots of cap room and GM Brian Burke is apparently tellins other teams that they can rent out his cap space if they fork over some high draft picks... Lupul is the guy that I think might get moved if the Flyers do something serious but we'll see...
Kevin (Chicago, IL)
Given their play with Khabibulin injured, do you think the Hawks will make a move before the deadline? Or do you think they like prefer their odds with two goalies able to start in the postseason?
Pierre LeBrun (4:05 PM)
The Hawks I believe are trying to acquire a center. They are alooking at several options. A good fit might be Jeff Halpern of Tampa, or maybe Nik Antropov of Toronto, among others, but I'm be surprised if Chicago didnt add a center before the deadline is come and gone
Jason (North KIngstown RI)
Pierre what do you see the bruins doing at the trade deadline?
Pierre LeBrun (4:10 PM)
In a perfect world, if the price is right, I think they'd like to add a piece both up front and on the blue-liner. Obviously Boston boy Keith Tkachuk is an obvious fit but at this point the St. Louis Blues have yet to give up on their season and have yet to sit down with Tkachuk and discuss the future (he has a no-movement clause). Tkahcuk I believe would gladly accept a move to Boston.
Corey, Middletown CT
This season, it seems as if a lot of the parity has dropped off from the top teams. If the playoffs started today, do you see as the big upsets with any likelihood of happening, or do you think that the East and West finals are limited to the top four seeds in each conference?
Pierre LeBrun (4:13 PM)
Corey, I disagree with you on the dropoff in parity. I believe it's the Sharks and Wings and the rest of the league. I really do. No offense to Boston and Washington, who clearly are terrific teams, but I still think the East is wide-open. All eight teams that make the playoffs in the East I believe can reach the Cup finals. But that's just my opinion.
Daniel K., Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Should the Oilers sacrifice a 1st round pick and a player for a big-name top forward, or trade a lower pick and expendable player (ie. UFA E. Cole) to improve their faceoffs and PK and/or their defensive corps?
Pierre LeBrun (4:14 PM)
Well, injuries on the blue-line have certainly forced them to look around for defensive help. I'm told they kicke the tires on Schneier before Montreal nabbed him. Up front, the search continues for a big impact winger. They tried to get Hossa and Jagr last summer with very good offers but struck out. If Kovalev is made available, which I doubt, but if he is, I think the Oilers would look hard at him.
What do you think of the Flyers possibly trading Briere and a defensemen (Carle, Jones or Sbisa come to mind) for Bouwmeester?
Pierre LeBrun (4:16 PM)
The Flyers and Panthers have definitely had some talks. But I don't think Florida is interested in inheriting any big-money, long-term deals like the one Briere has. And I think if Florida does decide to deal Bouwmeester, which isn't a certainty at this point, a Western team would be preferrable.
What does John Tortorella bring to this team that Tom Renney did not?
Pierre LeBrun (4:17 PM)
Steiny, you timing is good. I spoke with Torts this morning here in Toronto. I like Tom Renney a lot, but what Torts will bring more of is a fiery demeanour. He'll like a fire under some of these players.
Will Bob Murray make a few moves before March 4th?
Pierre LeBrun (4:18 PM)
Steiny, last one I answer from you buddy, got to give other people a chance :) But for a short answer on Murray, look at the facoff blog Burnside and I did this morniung. Yes, Murray will be busy !
Ryan (Blaine, Minnesota)
What will the Minnesota Wild do at the deadline with Marian Gaborik and Niklas Backstrom? Any trade rumors?
Pierre LeBrun (4:26 PM)
If they only get low-ball offers on the injured Gaborik they won't move him. Because remember, they hope to be in the playoffs as well so he may help when he returns. The injury has really hurt Gaborik's trade value. Unless a team really steps up with abig offer for Gaborik, they'll keep him. As for Backstrom, same thing. They hope to be a playoff team and need him. But again, if a Philadelphia calls and offeres up the farm, then the Wild have to think about it... because at this point Backstrom hasn't signed an extension and he's UFA July 1....
Chris (Sunnyvale, CA)
Are the Ducks really thinking about trading Chris Pronger? They haven't been great this year, but they still have a good core of players and could right back in the fold next year as contenders. Pronger does make a lot, but so does any top-level d-man and with there huge number of UFAs, wouldn't they want to keep a corner-stone player, especially one who personifies the teams' style and attitude?
Pierre LeBrun (4:29 PM)
Yes. Again, read the faceoff I did with Burnside and you'll see everything we dug up on that., But short answeris, Pronger could move either at the deadline or around the entry draft... the Ducks have to cut payroll
Liam Hart (Norton, MA)
Mike Milbury called Ovie by far the best player in the world right now. This strikes me as an overstatement considering the seasons that Malkin and Crosby are having. If the Pens make the playoffs, Malkin should be the MVP considering he would be doing something similar to what Ovie did in his Hart worthy effort last year. Am I right?
Pierre LeBrun (4:31 PM)
What hurts Malkin's case is that Crosby is also having a great season. So there's vote splitting ont he award between the tgwo players. Wheras Ovechkin gets all the Hart votes on his team.
Chris (Sunnyvale, CA)
Hey Pierre, with the huge tilt between the Sharks and Wings tonight, the obvious story has been Claude Lemieux's return to Detroit and the last chance to see the two Western monsters battle for the last time before the playoffs. But as a Sharks fan, the story for me will be how Evgeni Nabobov performs. Nabby's play has been up and down this year, but he's never really played well against the Wings and even in the epic 6-5 battle last month, Nabokov wasn't strong (although he did make some big saves). If Nabokov continues his struggles tonight, do you see that as a major problem if/when the two square off in the post season?
Pierre LeBrun (4:32 PM)
Chris, Nabby definitely has to shed some playoff demons _ period. Not just against the Wings. This is a big year for him to prove he's a playoff clutch goalie. But given the struggles of Osgood right now, I can't imagine the Sharks wouldn't feel they dont' have the goalie edge anyway if both teams met in the playoffs
King (Howell, NJ)
It's official, Marty's back tomorrow! Pierre, I feel that Marty's time off was beneficial for THIS Devils team for two reasons: 1) The offense/defense learned to not rely on him so much instead they attacked to win games. 2) He won't be worn down in the playoffs this year like he has been in years past. Your thoughts?
Pierre LeBrun (4:33 PM)
Great observations King, I agree with both of them. I honestly feel that Marty got run down come playoffs time over the last few years so the forced layoff will be huge in my opinion. But obviously he also needs a while to get his A game back. Roberto Luongo told me over the weekend that it took him a while. The bottom line is that if the Devils can add a topfour blue-liner at the deadline, this is a team that could definitely reach the Cup finals
Pierre, I wonder what you think of the Ottawa trade last week. For a team that needs to rebuild, giving up a first-round pick didn't seem to be all that bright. On paper they did need a second line center, albeit a recycled one, as well as another defenseman, but not at that cost. Does this mean that they still think they have a shot at the playoffs? The new coach has done well with what he has, but this team is a lot further away than that.
Pierre LeBrun (4:36 PM)
David, it was a surprising trade for sure. But when you dig deeper in it, you realize that they picked up a young, puck-moving blue-liner and those guys don't grow on trees. And in terms of Comrie, the Sens might decide to try and sign him to an extension after the season and if that's the case, they will have picked up a top-six forward and a young pluck-moving D-man in exchange for a first-round pick basically sinc Dean McAmmond is UFA.... Not a bad deal from that perspective
Dave (Chicago, IL)
Hey Pierre, in your question of the week column you didn't mention anything on the Blackhawks. Do you think we will acquire anyone before the deadline? Perhaps Dominic Moore or Mark Recchi?
Pierre LeBrun (4:37 PM)
As I said earlier here Dave, the Hawks definitely want a center. Whthyer it's Halpern, Antropov, Moore, all possibilities.
Ed (Severna Park, MD)
What's the deal with the Caps Pierre? I have a feeling they won't go deep into the playoffs because of their defense situation. I think Jose "Three-or-more" is decent, but with the lackluster defensive players I can't see the Caps bringing me a Cup to DC. Poti and Erskine are probably the only two tough, solid defenseman for the Caps. Do you see McPhee making any deadline trades? If so, what?
Pierre LeBrun (4:38 PM)
If the Caps make a move it's definitely going to be on the back end. I think Theodore is their goalie for this year, like it or not.
Will the Blackhawks trade Khabibulin by the trade deadline? If they do, can they be serious cup contenders?
Pierre LeBrun (4:38 PM)
I don't think so they'll move him. I think they view him as their playoff goalie
Casey (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Hey Pierre, I'm originally from Buffalo, and am thus a big fan of the Sabres. This year's team is undoubtedly fun to watch, and they work hard, but it's also obvious that at this point, they're lacking that X-factor who may be able to help push them into the playoffs and beyond. I realize they're limited financially, but do you see a scenario in which they try to work out some sort of deal to bring a solid guy or two to help carry the load? Bucigross thinks Bouwmeester would be a good fit. What are your thoughts? Do you see them making any moves, or should I just pray that they make a remarkable run here down the stretch?
Pierre LeBrun (4:40 PM)
Obviously the injuries to Vanek and Miller have been tough pills to swallow. Before those injuries this was a team that was rising back to prominence. But losing your top goal scorer and star goalie is tough to take. I think they'll look hard at an offensive defenseman but I don't think they'll be in on Bouwmeester. Something smaller scale.
When a GM is considering a trade how big of a deal is it to do some wheeling and dealing within the division? With the Devils looking for more strength on the blueline, and the Pens having a surplus in that area, would Shero be willing to pull the trigger on a deal or would such a deal not be possible within the division?
Pierre LeBrun (4:45 PM)
Great question Rick.. .really depends on the comfort level of the GM making the deal... A divisional rival is defiitely the last resort for a deal because the GM's biggest fear is constantly being reminded of that player he dealt if the deal goes bad....
Harry (North Haven, CT)
Do the Avs make a trade to build the future or stay with what they have?
Pierre LeBrun (4:45 PM)
There is pressure on Avs GM Francois Giguere to cut payroll. So yes, future, future, future !
Ryan (Pittsburgh, PA)
Hey Pierre, do you think the Penguins will make any trades at the deadline to get a scoring winger to play with Crosby? Would they deal Staal to get one?
Pierre LeBrun (4:46 PM)
I'm told GM Ray Shero is definitely working the phones hard right now trying to find a winger... time will tell... he's got excess blue-likers.. we'll soon find out !
Luke Pittsburgh, PA
I know GM Don Wadell has said he is not going to trade Ilya Kovalchuk but I have trouble believing that if the right offer was presented he wouldn't pull the trigger. Do you see Ilya Kovalchuk getting traded?
Pierre LeBrun (4:47 PM)
I think they'd rather wait for the entry draft if they decide to move him because at that point more teams will be involved in the bidding... right now only playoff-bound teams are buyers...
DAVE - CA
Hey Pierre, Tonight game prediction sharks and wings? Why is Nabokov so underrated he never gets mentioned as an elite goalie and its obvious he is?
Pierre LeBrun (4:48 PM)
Sharks 3, Wings 2 (shootout). I don't think Nabokov is underrated anymore. Imean, he was runner-up for the Vezina last year
The Rangers acquired Mark Bell from Toronto. What do you think of the move?
Pierre LeBrun (4:48 PM)
Bryan (New Bedford, MA.)
Do you think the Bruins would significantly weaken their team if they traded Manny Fernandez for a rental player?
Pierre LeBrun (4:50 PM)
I thnk the Habs showed last spring the danger of not having an experienced backup. When Carey Price faltered against Philly in the second round, a fellow rookie Halak was put in goal and he also showed his nerves. Montreal should have kept Cristobal Huet instead of dumping him at the deadline. Similarly, Tuuka Rask should be a good goalie one day, but how much insurance is he really if something happens to Tim Thomas in these playoffs???
Cory (Philadelphia, PA)
I loved your story on Philly goaltending. Is there anything my Flyers can do to improve before the dealine or are the cap limitations too great?
Pierre LeBrun (4:51 PM)
Well I still believe in Marty Biron, I think he's a gamer when it matters as he showed last spring. But in the meantime, Nicklas Backstrom in Minnesota could possibly be available but it would take a serious offer, one that would blow Doug Risebrough's pants off
Do you think the Pens will get Marion Gaborik or Ilya Kovalchuk to help Crosby or Malkin?
Pierre LeBrun (4:52 PM)
Chris Pittsburgh PA
Pierre Lots of buzz around the burgh about Ryan Smyth. DO you think he would be a nice fit for the pens? I know he has a lot of respect for Mario and dont think his NTC would be a issue if we make a offer. But would he fit?
Pierre LeBrun (4:53 PM)
I would take Ryan Smyth on my team any day, anywhere. Great character guy, clutch player, etc... But for Pittsburgh, they've got cap issues goin forward with a lot of guys on long-term deals... not sure how they could fit his long-term deal with them.... The LA Kings would be a good fit for Smyth in my opinion
James (New Orleans)
What kind of trades can you see the Devils possibly making at the trade deadline?
Pierre LeBrun (4:53 PM)
Definitely want to acquire a defenseman
Dave (Buffalo, NY)
I think the Sabres have to make an urgent move to find a quality #2 between the posts. Do you think they should grab Manny Fernandez, Kevin Weekes, or someone else?
Pierre LeBrun (4:54 PM)
Martin Gerber can be had for a song and a dance in the minors with Ottawa... UFA July 1...
Michael V. (San Diego, CA)
Hi Pierre! Do you think if the "Kings" would add 1 or 2 scoring forwards they have a good chance to make a playoffs this year? If yes, who do you think would be the best fit for them? (Kovalchuk, Smyth, Gaborik...)
Pierre LeBrun (4:55 PM)
Michael, I definitely hear that the Kings are working the phones trying to make a splash with a big-name forward.... Smyth would be a great fit but I think other guys are also being looked at... they've got cap room
Dave (Buffalo, NY)
Should Manny Legace retire? His numbers this year have been extremely subpar. With Mason doing as well as he is, should the Blues organization show Manny the door?
Pierre LeBrun (4:56 PM)
well he's UFA July 1 so it oesn't really matter at this point..
brandon from elkhart [via mobile]
hello Pierre, do you thinks the wings will be able to win back to back stanley cups? and also do you think they will start use conklin or osgood more?
Pierre LeBrun (4:56 PM)
Only if Ozzie gets his groove back
Adam (Lake George, NY)
Pierre, Lalime is out with the flu, and Jhonas Enroth would be getting the start for Buffalo tomorrow against the Canes. When is Buffalo going to catch a break?
Pierre LeBrun (4:57 PM)
No kidding... horrible luck over the last month for this team... and bad timing !
Jacob Sacramento CA
Big Sharks fan hoping this is the year...They have been aggressive in past year's, but do you think they are in need of making a move at the deadline? Would adding a vet rupture their chemistry?
Pierre LeBrun (4:58 PM)
I think the Sharks are pretty happy with their lineup but I would say if the Ducks decide to blow up their 07 Cup team, then maybe Doug Wilson might want to add another Cup winner on his squad... we'll see
Nate: Billings, MT
The Flames could use a top 4 defenseman, or a top 6 forward. which is more needed, and what would they give up?
Pierre LeBrun (5:01 PM)
I think the Flames will try to add both help on D and up front... Obviously they like Bouwmeester (he's building a house in Calgary by the way). But if they can't pull that off, they'll settle for something smaller. maybe Derek Boucher? Ok folks, that hour went quick, thanks again for your questions and sorry to the many I couldn't get to. We could do this all night. But I've got a Rangers-Leafs game to cover !