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June 30, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Pierre LeBrun

Jim (Aroma Park, IL)

Mr. LeBrun, I usually have Blackhawks questions, but today I have a free agency question: is there really a chance that the Blues could be a player for the services of Ilya Kovalchuk?

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Which NHL Team were you a Big Fan Of when you were a Kid?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:01 PM)

Montreal.To go back to first question regarding Blues and Kovalchuk: no chance. Blues have ownership $$$ issues

Lance (Tucson)

With Leighton signing a 2-year 3.1 million dollar deal does that mean no goalie for the Flyers? Also what can we expect them to do in free agency? Defenseman? volchenkov? Michalek?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:02 PM)

I still think Flyers will take a run at another goalies; Nabby, Turco or Ellis, etc...

John (Pittsburgh)

Pierre, Please tell me the Pens sign Gonchar and/or Hamhuis. At least one of them!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:02 PM)

As of 1:30 p.m. ET today, Gonchar talks were dead. But that can change with one phone call.Hamhuis talks still ongoing

CEO (San Jose)

Pierre,Any guesses on the Sharks' goalie search? Do you think the goalie will come from free agency or a trade? Will San Jose go with 2 unproven netminders in Greiss and Stalock?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:04 PM)

My gut feeling is that Turco tops Sharks' list. I've talked to Doug Wilson about this goalie search but he won't give me any hints. I'm just going on Turco's past history at Shark Tank and the fact I think he'd be a good fit. Turco has told me repteadly over last month that he wants to join a winner

Thomas (Los Angeles)

If the Kings sign Kovalchuk are they a stanley cup contender starting next season?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:04 PM)

yes

Mark (NY)

Both this year (Kovalchuk, Volchenkov, Gonchar, Nabokov) and last year (Gaborik, Hossa), most of the top free agents have been Europeans. Is there a reason for this in your opinion?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:05 PM)

none that I can think of

Thomas (Buffalo, NY)

Hey Pierre how are you? I'm hoping for some scoring help so that if I get hurt in the playoffs my team can survive. Do you think I will finally get a partner or even a power play defenseman so that we can give our goalie a little lift.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:06 PM)

Sabres have spoken to Leafs about kaberle but I'm not sure the fit is there since Toronto wants top-six forward in return...

Mark (Denver)

Do you see the Avs making any big splashes?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:06 PM)

no I think they'll stay away from big-money signings

Pat (DC)

Pierre, what do you see the Caps doing tomorrow? Their needs are 2C and D. What do you think of them trying to add Koivu and Kurtis Foster?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:07 PM)

GM GM is a secretive man so I'd be guessing like you.Matt Cullen or Saku Koivu possiblities I guess for 2c.

Jason (Atlanta)

Dudley keeps telling us he's happy with Pavelec and Hedberg, but there's rumor Hedberg isn't thrilled with the offer on the table. What do you think Dudley does? Do we see a high-profile free agent? Or someone like Ellis?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:09 PM)

I think he'll try to sign a UFA goalie

Patrick (Detroit)

If Gonchar hits the open market and does NOT re-sign with Pittsburgh, who do you see being the likely suitors for him?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:09 PM)

Keep an eye on New jersey is Martin leaves. I think they like Gonchar.

Shawn (Toronto)

Pierre, can you give me odds on the liklihood that the Devils will resign Paul Martin and Ilya Kovalchuk? Martin seems to be more likely.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:10 PM)

Both players will hit the market but both will keep New Jersey in mind while entertaining other teams' offers

Ilya Kovalchuk (New York)

Where do you see me signing for the coming season? And should I accept a long term deal or wait until next year where there will be a higher salary cap?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:11 PM)

LA and NJ will be inthe mix but I think there will be a few surprise teams as well

Mumbles (East Lansing, MI )

Do you think Lidstrom has one lost shot at the Norris this year? He finished 4th in the voting this year with his Wings decimated by injuries. I feel if his team stays healthy and there is more consistency he can go out on top with another Norris and another Cup :) (hope you sense my Detroit bias)

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:12 PM)

Lidstrom the way he played down the stretch this year certainly would have a shot. But I think the Norris for the next 10 years is to be had between Keith, Doughty, Myers and Weber

Homer (Detroit)

Whats with the KHL??? are they as competitive as NHL? Or do they just have the $ to offer players. Seems some love it over there and some hate it!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:13 PM)

League not as good. Travel brutal. But money good.

Steve (St. Louis)

How can the Blues be willing to give Kovalchuk an extension at the trade deadline last year and not have the money to get him as a Free Agent?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:13 PM)

The hedge fund that owns 75 per cent of the team has since told the team they are pulling out and Blues need to find new majority owner.

Brett (Ithaca, NY)

What do you think the Sabres do with Tallinder and Lydman? Do they stick to the build from within strategy and resign RFA's Weber and Gragnani or look at other UFA's?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:15 PM)

Brett. haven't heard from Sabres or agnts involved today. But I think both were goin to the 11th hour from what Regier told me Saturday

jon (LA)

is this the weakest UFA and RFA class we have ever seen?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:15 PM)

well no because 15 years ago the UFA age was 32 minimum so class was smaller and older

Grant (Toronto)

Any chance the Burke has been playing his cards tight and makes a serious run at Kovalchuk?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:16 PM)

You never know. On the record Burke has told many of us he doesn't want to sign him. But maybe as you say it's a trick to surprise the field. We'll find out tommorrow

Francis lambert (Québec)

Es-ce que Ilya Kovalchuk a une chance de rester avec les Devils

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:16 PM)

Peut-etre. Son agent m'a dit qu'il va parler a Lamoriello apres avoirs vu les autres offres

Walter (Raleigh, NC)

Can you explain to me why GM's like Holmgren and Shero traded draft picks/players (Ryan Parent) just to have exclusive negotiating rights with Hamhuis? I mean, why not just wait until July 1 to take a crack?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:17 PM)

They figure the window is worth the risk. See Calgary with jay Bouwmmester and geting his rights last year at the draft and then signing him

Rob (new jersey)

Pierre your tweets are awesome! If we let Paul Martin walk could you see us getting in the Kaberle sweeps more likely than speculation? Maybe dangle Langs (if he waives the NTC) plus more obvious. Burkie does like him. Who knows. But its FREE AGENT EVE im pumped for anything.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:18 PM)

Gonchar, Kaberle both guys Lou likes I believe

Dan (Philly)

For Walter, getting rid of Parent was good for the Flyers even if they didn't sign Hamhuis.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:18 PM)

letting Dan speak to Walter

Mark (Los Angeles)

Pierre, I know you already touched on this, but these Simmonds for Kaberle rumors make no sense. Not only does Lombardi love Simmer, but he wouldn't trade him for Kovalchuk last year...why would he trade him for a less valuable Kaberle. Both are offensive minded, so why not trade him for sure for the actual natural scorer. Please put an end to this nonsense!

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:20 PM)

From Lombardi's mouth to my ears last Saturday after the draft: he doesn't want to trade away a top-six forward

Paul Holmgren (empty Wachovia)

Pierre: If you were me, would you trade Jeff Carter for Jonathan Bernier and a good draft pick next year; then use the money saved to sign Hamhuis and maybe Colby Armstrong?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:20 PM)

For what it's worth _ Holmgren has told me repeatdly over last 12 months he will never trade jeff Carter. Doesn't mean it won't happen, but I'm just relaying what he said

Bob Banger (Oak Park MI)

Could the RED WINGS offer KOVALCHUK a long term deal with big incentives? Never under estimate Kenny H

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:21 PM)

Only player 35 and over get performances bonuses

Brett (Ithaca, NY)

Do the Sabres resign both Tallinder and Lydman, just one, replace from within the organization or look to some UFA's?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:21 PM)

yeah I predict they re-sign one and let a prospect replace the other

fredTHEfreak (denver)

did Ray Emery sign somewhere, or just slip off of your list of available goalies for some reason?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:22 PM)

He's UFA as of tomorrow but his career hangs in the balance because of difficult recovery from serious hip surgery. So no team will touch him until late summer if and when he passes many physicals

Charles (DC)

Pierre, do you think Michalek would be a good fit for a team like the Caps. They are bringing up Alzner and Carlson next year but seem to be missing one more d-man. Any thoughts?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:23 PM)

McPhee told me Saturday in LA that he's happy Carlson and Alzer playing big minutes next year and doesn't need big-name UFA d-man... but you know GM GM, he's full of tricks...

Kurtis Foster (Tampa Bay)

How come I'm never brought up in regards to Free Agent defensemen? I think I earned a nice raise from last season. Where am I going?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:23 PM)

Did you not ready my UFA D-man list on ESPN.com????

Erik (SF, CA)

what moves, if any, do you see the blackhawks making? after the sopel/buff trade, do you think they are done? what pieces could they add to remain at the top of the Western Conference?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:24 PM)

I think Versteeg remains avaialable and once some teams strike out on getting UFA forward help, they may come calling to Chicago

Tom (Orlando)

With Jason Spezza most likely not be trading right now. If Spezza has a tough start to the seasosn could you see the Senators try trading him at the trade deadline?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:27 PM)

Again, for what it is worth, Bryan Murray told me last week that once Ottawa pays his $4-million bonus tomorrow at midnight, there is no chance he will be traded.

Lance (Tucson)

Do the Flyers go after defensemen Volchenkov? Tallinder? michalek? Foster? i have heard all four being linked to the Flyers. I am hoping for Volchenkov. With the money the flyers saved from Leighton he makes sense and he is born to wear O &B

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:28 PM)

They will definitely go after a top-four blue-liner tomorrow

Mike (Illinois)

Hey do you think the Blackhawks will buyout Huet? If so, will they explore the UFA goalie crop for someone to battle with Niemi?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:28 PM)

They will NOT buy him out, that hurts the cap too much. Instead, they wil bury him in the minors or find a team in Europe for him _ neither affects the cap

Ryan (UK)

Any chance Huet comes back to be first choice?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:30 PM)

None

Daniel (Anaheim)

Pierre, does it make sense for the Ducks to go hard after Paul Martin to (kind of) fill Niedermayer's void? He seems like the best fit for them.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:30 PM)

If the Ducks can afford him, yes it makes sense... But I know Ducks' payroll for next year a bit limited

Pierce (NJ)

Pierre, I root for the Devils...Am I crazy for NOT wanting Kovalchuk back on this team...Yes I understand the guy was productive... but I really don't believe he fits well into our system. At times in the playoffs it seemed like he was taking plays off on defense and focused more on performing on his own for a big contract than paying attention and playing a team-oriented game that our system calls for. I feel like he's an incredibly selfish player who dangles the puck for far too long even with his great goal-scoring prowess. Is it also possible the Devils could sign Volchenkov if Martin doesn't return. Lou and John both have said we need to get back to our tough defensive-minded roots and when he's healthy Volchenkov is a physical beast.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:30 PM)

Solid thoughts, nothing for me to add

Ceo (San Jose)

Hi Pierre, Any idea of what Turco is seeking dollar wise? Would 2.5-3 million get him on a contender?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:32 PM)

No, but obviously more than $2 M.

Vincent Mercier (Montréal)

Est-ce que vous croyez que le Canadiens aurait du echanger Price, etant donne que les rumeurs disaient qu'il avait une bien plus grand valeur qu'Halak?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:32 PM)

Non, je crois dans le talent de Carey Price

johan (Calgary)

Pierre U rock. Great Job as always. Another quick Kovy hit. Talking to Dean Lombardi, did you get the sense he is going to make a big run at this guy. I feel it may just push the Kings over the top. Kopi - Kovi. WOW

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:33 PM)

Kings will make a run at Kovy - yes

DudesOnHockey (San Jose, CA)

Will the Sharks address their glaring need for a #2 d-man? If they strike out with UFA's, is Setoguchi the bait?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:34 PM)

great question. Sharks source told me goalie would be number one prioroity tomorrow, d-man later.... dont' forger Demers will get more ice time next year and Wallin was re-signed... but I agree they need another d-man

Pat (Calgary)

Hey Pierre, Any chance my flames get a true first line center this year for iggy? Is that why they are clearing out Dawes/kotalik etc?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:34 PM)

We asked Sutter that question last week in LA and he responded by saying guys like Backlund need more ice time.... but I still think he'll look around via trade this summer

Mitch (New York)

How can the KHL afford to pay those salaries? Do they sell out arenas and have a better television deal than the NHL (i know thats not hard but still...).

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:35 PM)

small arenas, teams make no money.... their financial framework makes no sense. Their president Medvedev told me at the Olympics not to compare their model with NHL, that KHL will eventually make more money in sponsorship and adversiting, etc...

Craig (PA)

Pierre, i'm a basketball, baseball, and football fan but i want to get into hockey. Tell me all i need to know about the Kings and what they are doing this free agent season that can get me excited for next year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:40 PM)

Kings are on the rise, they feel this is their window to win now. They will go after Kovalchuk tomorrow _ number one forward available on market - plus go after a top-four d-man (they love Hamhuis)

alain grenache (quebec)

salut pierre ,merci de nous repondre en francais ... pense tu que le canadien va nous surprendre avec la signature d'un agent libre

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:41 PM)

J'ai vraiment aucune idee, le CH fonctionn toujours en secret !

Oliver (Las Vegas)

Can Vegas get a NHL team ...ever

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:41 PM)

Jerry Brukheimer (check spelling) the Hollywood mogul wants to put a team there but it's not something the NHL is thinking about too hard right now

Scott (NJ)

@Pierce....good points however I have to disagree with "our" system. This defense first idea that goes with the Devils no longer works. It worked before the lockout, it doesn't anymore. We can no longer compete with teams who can score. Look what happened with Philly. With Marty starting to age we need to shift gears. It is nice being tops in the NHL as far as defense goes but it has given us ziltch in the playoffs. Kovy would be the perfect start to a transition in NJ Devil mentality. He would fit in much better and Zach could hit the 50 goal mark I believe.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:41 PM)

Scott's rebuttal to Pierce

Tom (Laurinburg)

What kinda money do you see gonchar receiving. As a lifelong pens fan, I just can't see paying him more than 5/yr.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:42 PM)

He's get between $5 M to $6 M tomorrow on open market

Brian (Phoenix)

Any updates on contact talks with Z?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:43 PM)

As of two hours ago it was intense negotiations with Phoenix pressing hard

Lonnie (Tulsa)

When the ink is dry on all the new deals, who will be the three below the radar guys with the most to prove, aside from guys like Kovy and the big goalie signings?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:45 PM)

To me, someone will overpay for Volchenkov and he will have to live up to that big contract

Pierce (NJ)

@Scott We do need scoring, I just feel like the defensive system leads to it. We were in the top half of the league in goals scored when we won our Stanley Cups and we kept our defensive system with Niedermyer and Stevens. I think we actually led the league in goals somehow with the most recent Cup. I just feel there are better, cheaper, less selfish alternatives than Kovy

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:45 PM)

and the Pierce/Scott Devils chat continues....

Frank (Montreal)

What are the chances Ellis signs with the habs?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

Just spoke on the phone with Ellis and he said so far no hard numbers exchanged with Habs, just general conversations... more talks scheduled for tonight or tomorrow mornning

ville leino (fineland)

Pierre: What kind of year will I have next year?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:48 PM)

nice one

Eric (Boulder, CO)

Why isn't there easy available info for team's cap situations?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:49 PM)

I've asked the NHL that and it says teams don't want it out. Best website for cap info is capgeek.com

Tom (Lake Elsinore, CA)

Who are some top 6 forwards that may be available to teams via trade for those that do not get Kovy? I've heard Spezza and Savard. Any others?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:50 PM)

Versteeg and Ribeiro also available

Mike (Newport, RI)

No one cares about the David Clarkson signing?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:50 PM)

I do !

Teemu (Anaheim)

Hi Pierre. Am I coming back for 2010-2011? Is Saku?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:51 PM)

Last I heard you were still undecided :)

jake (ontario)

is there any chance bobby ryan is traded

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:51 PM)

bob Murray insists to me that that is the last thing he wants to do.... but i guess the longer the contract impasses lasts...

Pierre/Scott fan (Indianapolis)

They both asked me to find out if you had any Oiler news?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:52 PM)

Tamby still trying to move Nilsson and if he can't, he'll buy him out

Thomas (Fort Worth, TX)

Do you see a swap centered around Ribeiro and Roszival as beneficial for both the Stars and Rangers?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:52 PM)

Stars have ownership $$$$ issues and don't want to take on big money

Greg (Toronto)

Hey Pierre,Do you think that Shero goes after Whitney, so that Sid Finally has some help on the wing....... who else can he go after?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:53 PM)

Interesting question. I think pens will look at Ray Whitney but won't want to give him too much term cause of 35 and over rule

Jim (Grand Rapids)

How well do you think Adam Burish would fit on the Wings? They need a little more "sandpaper"

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:53 PM)

would be a great fit

Doug Wilson (San Jose)

Do I resign Manny Malhotra or do I turn to Mike Modano? I love a good veteran role model...

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:54 PM)

Sharks loved the way Malholtra played on the ice this year and how he was off the ice. They love him

Brett (Ithaca, NY)

Where does Lebron end up?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:55 PM)

LeBrun is signed for one more season with ESPN.com

Mike (Naples, FL)

Will the Sabres EVER sign a top UFA ?

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:55 PM)

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Timmy Thomas ((Boston))

I sure wish I didn't teach Rask all my moves in the first year.

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:55 PM)

LOL.

Lance (Tucson)

Love the long chat today LeBrun....keep it up...

Pierre LeBrun
  (4:56 PM)

No problem Lance, but now is the time for me to go and hit the phones again. This was my last chat of the season so I want to thank you all for joining me every week. We'll get it going again in October.A great summer to all.Pierre