Chat with Barry Melrose
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Erik Bruckner (Pittsburgh, PA)
Barry, do you think Kris Letang stays a Penguins leading up to next season?
Barry Melrose (2:01 PM)
Yeah, I think so. I think he's a unique defensemen. There are very few defensemen that does what he does. They like him. I think he stays a Penguin.
Barry, do you see the Capitals making any significant moves before the trade deadline? And if they don't make the playoffs, do you think George McPhee gets to keep his job?
Barry Melrose (2:03 PM)
I don't know what they could get. They're not trading any of their core guys. Goaltending has been an issue. They might try to find one. But other than Ryan Miller, I don't know who else will be out there. They're obviously not having the year we thought. If you had said Ovechkin had 40 goals at this time of year and they were in danger of not making the playoffs, we'd have said you're crazy.
Do you expect a lot of trades over the next two days before the freeze?
Barry Melrose (2:04 PM)
I don't think so. In the East, Florida and Buffalo are the only teams really out of it. And there are only a couple in the West. Right now there just aren't enough teams selling.
I think Jonathan Bernier will be an elite goalie in 2-3 years... what do you think?
Barry Melrose (2:04 PM)
I think he's played great. I think most nights they're outshot badly and he sees a lot of rubber. Yet he has an average defensive team in the playoffs right now. He's been a very good addition to the Maple Leafs this year.
How many more productive years do you think Marian Hossa will give the Blackhawks?
Barry Melrose (2:05 PM)
I think he has several good years yet. He is still an elite player. He keeps himself in great shape. He's an awesome skater, which is the most important thing. I think he has 2, 3, 4, more good years for the Blackhawks.
With the recent play of King Henrik and the Rangers overall.. is the team closer to Boston/Pittsburgh or still in the middle of the pack with the rest of the East?
Barry Melrose (2:06 PM)
I think they're in the second tier. Boston and Pittsburgh are the two best teams in the East, no doubt. The Rangers are playing well right now, but they're still a little ways away from the two top dogs in the East.
Barry, misplaced Rangers fan here. Do you really think Sather will trade Ryan Callahan or Dan Girardi and, if so, what do you think the return will look like?
Barry Melrose (2:07 PM)
I would hope that it doesn't come to that. I think the Rangers want to keep both of those guys. I think both of those guys want to stay there. They're the heart and soul of the Rangers. I think they'd be crazy to deal one or both of those guys. But if it comes down to business, they might have to. Though I think they'd be wrong to do it.
With the recent play of Halak, with the exception of last night, is an elite goalie still the number one concern for the Blues going into the trade deadline? Is there a better chance of them going after someone like Callahan instead?
Barry Melrose (2:08 PM)
If you watched last night, the goaltending was not very good for the Blues. They might go out and try to get a Ryan Miller. They're a very good team, they have a lot of weapons. But that could be their Achilles heel.
Doug (Long Island)
Hey Barry,Rangers are rolling right now. If you erase that horrible start to the season, they've been one of the top teams since then. What do you think they need to do to be "true" contenders?
Barry Melrose (2:09 PM)
They have to continue to play the way they are right now. Lundqvist has to continue to play this way. They need goals from their other scorers.
Matt (Buried in Michigan)
Do the Wings keep their playoff streak alive?
Barry Melrose (2:09 PM)
Ahhhh...yes. I think they do. Mainly because they're in the Eastern Conference.
Hi Barry, is it a big deal that only a handful of NHL officials will be working the Olympics? Will the balance be provided by the KHL and if so does that forecast a scandal if Russia wins gold?
Barry Melrose (2:10 PM)
I don't think scandals are the right word. For the big games, the medal games and such, you would hope that the majority are NHL officials, and I think they will be. But also, the international body has to use international refs also. They just can't use all NHL referees, unfortunately.
What's wrong with the Kings offensively? Who could you see as a deadline addition to help them score some goals?
Barry Melrose (2:12 PM)
Everybody on L.A. has went into an offensive slump at the exact same time. This team doesn't win with offense. It wins with goaltending and defense. But even by their offensive standards, this is a terrible slump. They might actively pursue an offensive player at the trade deadline, just to sort of jump start their team.
Do you think the Blackhawks will be able to resign Toews, Kane and Saad?
Barry Melrose (2:13 PM)
Yes, I do. I think, first off, they all want to stay in Chicago. It's nice when you have a chance to win the Cup every year. They love playing together. And the cap will be going up each year, so that's good news for big market teams like Chicago.
What do you make of Adam Oates? You were with the Red Wings in the 80's, so was he, did you ever get to play together? Obviously he was a great player, but are the Capitals really going anywhere with him as a coach?
Barry Melrose (2:14 PM)
He's been average. I like what he's done with the power play. Ovechkin has loved playing for him. But they haven't been a great defensive team and right now, they look like a team that is going to be right on the edge of making or missing the playoffs.
do you see Barry the league expanding any time soon?If they do what city or cities could get a franchise?I know Hamilton,Ontario and Quebec have been looking for a franchise in Canada.And how about in the USA,any possibility the Hartford Whalers returning to the NHL?
Barry Melrose (2:15 PM)
I think we'll see at least two more teams. I think one of them will be in Seattle. Maybe another one in Quebec City. But obviously, they'd like two more teams to balance out the divisions. I think we'll probably see that coming in the next couple of years.
Colin (New York)
Barry, I understand the business of sports and Cally deserves to get as much money as he can. That being said, the Rangers reported offer of 5 years at $6mil per seems like more then fair value for a player who is the heart and soul of the team but does have a vast injury history and never has been a prolific goal scorer. Thoughts?
Barry Melrose (2:16 PM)
I look at all of the money the Rangers have given to players that have no heart and way overpaid for them. Now they're going to play hardball with a guy that's their leader and conscience of the team. It seems crazy to do it now with him when you didn't do it for other players.
Will the Ducks come out of their mini-slump against Chicago?
Barry Melrose (2:17 PM)
This is a battle of two teams that are struggling right now. It will be an emotional game. Both of these teams think they're the best in the conference. It will be a great game. One that I'm surely going to be watching.
Olympic predictions please! I can't wait for the games to begin. And do you think Henrik Swedin will play? He was laboring pretty bad last night
Barry Melrose (2:18 PM)
I'll say Canada-Sweden for the gold medal and I think Henrik will play a great Olympics.
what's been happening with Chicago?
Barry Melrose (2:19 PM)
Don't forget a couple of years ago, basically the same Blackhawks team lost 9 in a row. Even the mighty Blackhawks can slump. Maybe it's just a case of them looking forward to the Olympics. It might just be a tough time in the schedule and players looking ahead.
Pete (Kansas City)
Dallas has had a decent year to this point, but has spent almost all of it from the outside looking in to the playoff picture. The Canucks are fading fast and so are the Kings. Do you think the Stars have a shot at breaking their playoff drought this season?
Barry Melrose (2:20 PM)
No. But I think they're definitely on the right track. The Seguin deal has turned out great. They've got some great young talent. The problem is they're in the West and that's a problem for anyone trying to make the playoffs.
Mark (Pasadena, CA)
Do you think the Blackhawks will swing a trade for a second line center? They haven't had a true second line center for a while, yet have still won 2 Cups in 4 years. I heard they might try to get Legwand and that Nashville will be looking for a first round pick in return, even a late first round pick (which is what it would be from Chicago). The Blackhawks easily can afford to give up a draft pick or two, but could they squeeze Legwand or someon like him under the cap? I trust Stan Bowman to make it work. Or do you think they will stand pat with their roster and maybe just add Teuvo Teravainen at the end of the season and have him for the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (2:21 PM)
Even Chicago can't get everything they want. They'd love to get a second line center, but those guys aren't always available and you'd have to give up a lot to get one. But I think things have worked out pretty well for the Blackhawks without that pure second line center.
Yo Barry... Do you think Berube has done a fantastic job with Flyers Turn around? It's funny how a former pugilist has turned out to be a very good strategist and calming effect for them..isn't it??
Barry Melrose (2:22 PM)
Very much so. He's come in and established a good style. Guys are playing hard. I think he's done a great job with the Flyers.
Jake (Connecticut )
with 25 games left and 50 point up for grabs with the rangers, do you think they will make the playoffs?
Barry Melrose (2:23 PM)
If they continue to play the way they have now. They're playing very well. Goaltending has been good. Defense has been better. If they play at the pace of .750 or somewhere around there, you're certainly going to be in in the Eastern Conference.
Are you a fan of the realignment they've done for this season? Personally I don't like it, I think It would have been much easier just to stick Nashville in the Southeast Division and stick Winnipeg in the old Central Division.
Barry Melrose (2:24 PM)
It made sense. Detroit wanted back in the East, they did that. Everyone is in their own time zone now. Winnipeg has to be in the West. It had to be done and it made sense. All of the movements helped travel and the TV packages for the local teams. I think it's worked.
Assuming Stamkos returns after the Olympic break 100% healthy, you would have to consider the Bolts to be a real contender in the East, no (especially given the season Bishop is having in net)?
Barry Melrose (2:25 PM)
Yeah, very much. But I don't know how much better they'll be with Stamkos in the lineup, with how they've been playing. This team is for real, especially in net. You'd have to say they're the third best team in the East.
If the Rangers keep playing like they are, how far can they go? I am not convinced that Pitt and Boston are unbeatable in the playoffs.
Barry Melrose (2:26 PM)
I think if you make the playoffs, you can win. That's shown every year. With Lundqvist in net, he can carry you. Without a doubt they'd be dangerous.
Do you think the Rangers will keep Callahan?
Barry Melrose (2:26 PM)
Yes. I think he wants to stay in New York. The Rangers want to keep him. I think at the end of the day, they get this deal done.
Flyers are 9th and 1 slot out of playoffs. Coming off a very successful west coast trip, do you see them being good enough to grab a playoff spot?
Barry Melrose (2:28 PM)
Yeah, I do. I like them a lot. They're getting better and better. Other guys that struggled at the beginning of the year are heating up. I think they make the playoffs.
If you were the GM of the Ducks, who would you bring in for the playoff run?
Barry Melrose (2:29 PM)
I think you just try to get deeper. They love their team, their nucleus. Their goaltending is solid. With injuries, maybe you look to get deeper on defense. You're just trying to find depth. You're not changing the team drastically, just deeper on defense or up front.
Any chance the Isles go back after Moulson for a 3 or 4 year contract. I love Vanek but I'm not really sure about a 7 year deal anyway. Speaking of Vanek, what do you think is a reasonable package the Isles can expect from a team like LA? Would Martin Jones a 2nd rounder and a defensive prospect be reasonable to LA? Thanks Barry
Barry Melrose (2:31 PM)
Vanek is gone. He's not going to be an Islander. They gave up draft picks to get him and he'll be gone. Moulson is a guy they could go after. The question is will he go to the Island? He'll get some offers. He's not stupid, he knows if he goes back, he'll play with Tavares and he'll have some good numbers.
Barry Melrose (2:31 PM)
I hope everyone enjoys the Ducks-Blackhawks game tonight. It will be the best one before the Olympic break starts.
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