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January 14, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Katie Strang

Katie Strang
  (2:00 PM)

Greetings puckheads! Thanks for joining in on another live chat.Think we might finally start seeing some moves in the next few weeks as the NHL's Olympic freeze approaches, so we have lots to talk about!With that said, fire away!

San Antonio [via mobile]

Hi Katie, what do you think of the Tim Murray hire and also bringing Craig Patrick to Buffalo?

Katie Strang
  (2:03 PM)

Hey there! Glad you asked, because I directed the very same question to an agent today. Asked how the hire was regarded by those around the NHL community and he endorsed it as a very shrewd hire for Pat LaFontaine. Murray is seen as a very good scout and talent developer, which will be key for a team focused on youth and rebuilding. Plus, he's taken the past couple of years to learn the financial side of the business under his uncle in Ottawa and running the Sens' AHL franchise in Binghamton. Will be very interesting to see how he handles some big decisions ahead ie Ryan Miller

cjamny (NY)

Hi Katie, if Brad Richards continues to produce the way he has do you think he will avoid a buy out at the end of the season? I would think with so many UFA's the Rangers would not want to sacrifice 5mil in cap space his buy out would result in.

Katie Strang
  (2:06 PM)

Here's the thing: it actually has less to do with the way he plays than you think. Ultimately, what it comes down to is how many years the Rangers feel he has left in him. The team would get absolutely hammered in cap recaptured penalties if Richards retires before the end of his nine-year deal. He's 33 and he has six years left on the nine-year, $60 million deal. The Rangers may have no choice but to buy him out

Joe (Texas)

Katie, What do you make of the goaltending situation in Washington? The Caps are carrying three goalies, and giving the rookie Grubauer most of the starts. Holtby is on the bench with no confidence, and Neuvirth wants out of town. Can that situation be salvaged in time for the Caps to make a solid playoff run?

Katie Strang
  (2:08 PM)

They better hope so because a three-goalie situation can be one of the most toxic for an NHL team. Not exactly sure what the market has been for Neuvirth, but if a team has injury needs and McPhee can get a decent return for him, he should move him. A little internal competition is healthy. A logjam is not. Too many bruised egos

Erik (Pittsburgh)

Do you see any of the Jets big names being dealt?

Katie Strang
  (2:09 PM)

I can see Dustin Byfuglien being dealt, yes. His size, offensive ability, and versatility will likely be attractive to some teams. Right-handed defensemen are hard to find

Dara (Florida)

What do you think of Panthers rookie Sasha Barkov? He really seems so mature for his age and has such a great hockey sense!

Katie Strang
  (2:11 PM)

Hey Dara! Great to see you back here. Everything I have heard about Barkov has been positive, and I'm excited to see what he can do on the big ice for the Finns in Sochi. He has been a consistent producer for the Cats and appears to be a poised young man

Erik (Pittsburgh)

Does Vanek get traded?

Katie Strang
  (2:13 PM)

Not before the Islanders take a real serious go at him. From what I've heard, the Isles are very eager to talk with his camp, though Vanek understandably wants a little more time to see what direction the team is headed. I can definitely see Snow being wiling to overspend on Vanek. The issue is whether he will want to commit to the franchise long-term. If he doesn't, Snow needs to try to move him

Jason (Denver)

Did Jonathan Quick just earn the starting nod for the US with that shutout last night?

Katie Strang
  (2:15 PM)

Really strong performance by Quick against the Canucks, and credit to him for remaining steady amidst a gong show of a game, but I still like Miller as the starting goalie. Bylsma will have a tough choice, but that is a good tough choice to have

David (Denver)

Am I taking this Olympics snubbing too far, in feeling that Erik Johnson has been snubbed from inclusion in articles discussing who the snubs are?

Katie Strang
  (2:15 PM)

Can we call this a sub-snub?

Braden (NY to LA)

Katie, why is no one talking about Mats Zuccarello? This guy is absolutely tearing it up this year. What do you think his ceiling is? Could we be watching a future Martin St. Louis?

Katie Strang
  (2:17 PM)

Funny that you should mention MSL re: Zuccarello because Brad RIchards, St. Louis' longtime teammate in Tampa Bay, have compared the two players to each other multiple times this season. There's obviously the size factor, but Richards also said it's their ability to sneak into those tough areas of the ice and create havoc down low.

Harris (Syosset)

Hey Katie, hope all is well! Just wanted to folowup on your amac piece. Some isles fans dont feel he has much trade value. With him logging top minutes, qbing a good pp and on pace for 40 points, what do you think other gms would give up?

Katie Strang
  (2:22 PM)

I understand the dissent, but I respectfully disagree and here's why: If you're an Islanders fan, you're seeing the mistakes he makes on a nightly basis and are feeling (understandably) frustrated. But, here's the rub: he's logging over 25 minutes a game, drawing opponents top lines as competition, and he's done so in front of some pretty questionable goaltending until recently. I think you would see a completely different player once you eased his load. Use him as a second-pair defenseman on a good team and I think a lot of opinions would change.

Katie Strang
  (2:22 PM)

I understand the dissent, but I respectfully disagree and here's why: If you're an Islanders fan, you're seeing the mistakes he makes on a nightly basis and are feeling (understandably) frustrated. But, here's the rub: he's logging over 25 minutes a game, drawing opponents top lines as competition, and he's done so in front of some pretty questionable goaltending until recently. I think you would see a completely different player once you eased his load. Use him as a second-pair defenseman on a good team and I think a lot of opinions would change.

Katie Strang
  (2:22 PM)

I understand the dissent, but I respectfully disagree and here's why: If you're an Islanders fan, you're seeing the mistakes he makes on a nightly basis and are feeling (understandably) frustrated. But, here's the rub: he's logging over 25 minutes a game, drawing opponents top lines as competition, and he's done so in front of some pretty questionable goaltending until recently. I think you would see a completely different player once you eased his load. Use him as a second-pair defenseman on a good team and I think a lot of opinions would change.

Katie Strang
  (2:23 PM)

I understand the dissent, but I respectfully disagree and here's why: If you're an Islanders fan, you're seeing the mistakes he makes on a nightly basis and are feeling (understandably) frustrated. But, here's the rub: he's logging over 25 minutes a game, drawing opponents top lines as competition, and he's done so in front of some pretty questionable goaltending until recently. I think you would see a completely different player once you eased his load. Use him as a second-pair defenseman on a good team and I think a lot of opinions would change.

Katie Strang
  (2:23 PM)

I understand the dissent, but I respectfully disagree and here's why: If you're an Islanders fan, you're seeing the mistakes he makes on a nightly basis and are feeling (understandably) frustrated. But, here's the rub: he's logging over 25 minutes a game, drawing opponents top lines as competition, and he's done so in front of some pretty questionable goaltending until recently. I think you would see a completely different player once you eased his load. Use him as a second-pair defenseman on a good team and I think a lot of opinions would change.

Katie Strang
  (2:23 PM)

I understand the dissent, but I respectfully disagree and here's why: If you're an Islanders fan, you're seeing the mistakes he makes on a nightly basis and are feeling (understandably) frustrated. But, here's the rub: he's logging over 25 minutes a game, drawing opponents top lines as competition, and he's done so in front of some pretty questionable goaltending until recently. I think you would see a completely different player once you eased his load. Use him as a second-pair defenseman on a good team and I think a lot of opinions would change.

Katie Strang
  (2:23 PM)

I understand the dissent, but I respectfully disagree and here's why: If you're an Islanders fan, you're seeing the mistakes he makes on a nightly basis and are feeling (understandably) frustrated. But, here's the rub: he's logging over 25 minutes a game, drawing opponents top lines as competition, and he's done so in front of some pretty questionable goaltending until recently. I think you would see a completely different player once you eased his load. Use him as a second-pair defenseman on a good team and I think a lot of opinions would change.

Katie Strang
  (2:24 PM)

Sorry, everyone. Having some computer problems. Keeps freezing up. bear with me

Reilly (New York)

Hey Katie,With the Olympic freeze coming up, should we expect the majority of the trades to occur before or after? My guess would be after to give teams a couple weeks to discuss internally where they stand.Also, what big names besides the obvious (Miller, Vanek, Moulson) do you think could be moved (aside from the NY Post pushing Giardi/Callahan trades)?

Katie Strang
  (2:26 PM)

Hey Reilly- yes, what you might see is a sort of arbitrary pre-trade deadline deadline with the Olympic roster freeze approaching Feb 7. That's because the March 5 trade deadline follows so soon after guys get back from Sochi that it could leave teams scrambling. That said, there are some positives and negatives. In making a deal before the freeze, you have some more time to get your ducks in a row, but for a team with cap or money issues, you have a guy on your payroll for over two weeks while he isn't even playing.

Matt (NY)

Can the Islanders continue this hot streak and contend for the playoffs?

Katie Strang
  (2:29 PM)

I think we will see the Islanders have a much better second half, but the issue is whether they can surmount the hole they dug in the first. They are getting better goaltending right now, that's for sure, so if they can sustain that, it's a start. The mediocrity of the East certainly helps as well. But the Isles will still have an uphill battle. Remember that stat form earlier this season. Only a few teams that were FOUR points out of the playoff race in November went on to secure post-season berths. Can't remember the exact specifics, but it seemed pretty telling,

Chris (Denver)

Hi Katie. Lot of talk that one of the top Western teams will win the Cup this year. But is this a year where the best teams are so good they beat each other up, and a lesser team in the East sneaks away with the Cup?

Katie Strang
  (2:29 PM)

Certainly that must be what Ray Shero is hoping for ;)

Keith (Farmingdale ny)

Hi katie, I have a question regarding the stadium series in ny, is the nhl expecting the Yankee Stadium games to be sold out? And isn't it extremely difficult to sell tickets to an outdoor game in January, during the week and at night? Specifically regarding the islanders rangers game.

Katie Strang
  (2:30 PM)

Seems like they are still pushing those Isles-Rangers tickets pretty hard, so I think it could be a tough sell-out. And you're absolutely right. A night game in frigid temperatures in January isn't all that appealing to some.

Nix (Geneva, NY)

Any news on a Callahan extension? The Rangers would be crazy to move the heart and soul of their team. He doesn't seem to be a guy to follow money, so I'm sure they could agree on a good deal since he enjoys being in New York. It's close to Rochester, and it's not Buffalo.

Katie Strang
  (2:33 PM)

Nope. There have been some discussions, but they have been very off and on with long periods in between without much communication. Think the Rangers are going to have to make some tough internal decisions soon about the direction and future of the team. Callahan deserves a raise and he'll get it somewhere, but the Rangers may have concerns about his long-term durability

KT (Texas)

Why are the Stars sturggling so badly? Seems like they need Lehtonen to make miraculous saves every night.

Katie Strang
  (2:35 PM)

Asked Jim Nill this the other day ( a bit more diplomatically, mind you). He said that he could start to see him cracks even before this skid -- some shortcuts taken, some corners cut, some deficiencies in their play -- but that it's all catching up to them now. It's a young team, remember. Seems it's a bit easier for a more experienced, established group to find a way out of a rut

MIKE (MEMPHIS)

With Noel fired, which coach is next coach on the hot seat?

Katie Strang
  (2:35 PM)

Gotta think Randy Carlyle, right?

Aaron (Long Island)

sent you this on twitter in response to your post about AMac. Aren't the Islanders better off using the $5M/year that MacDonald will command on a FA goalie and Vanek? especially with Vis coming back and Reinhart penciled for LI next season.

Katie Strang
  (2:37 PM)

I agree with you that finding a strong No. 1 goaltender remains their biggest need and, as such, should be top priority. They have the cap space for one of those, an AMac and a Vanek. It's a matter of actually opening up the pocket-books. They need to at least try to accomplish two of the three

Jaden (Seattle)

That LA - Van game last night was wild with 5 fights and the number of penalty minutes. To me, it seemed like a faux attempt to be tough by the Canucks. Tortarella should know better than to try and get tough with a Darryl Sutter coached team. P.S. Loved to see Kesler and Brown get into a fight last night!!

Katie Strang
  (2:40 PM)

Don't be surprised to see the team's identity shift a bit under Tortorella. He loves meat-and-potatoes guys, grinders. He'll reward players for toughness and grit. Loved to see that last night, too Jaden. Especially Kesler's comments afterwards. Sounds like there are no bad feelings between the two future US Olympians.

Mark (Toronto)

Will the Leafs make any big moves before the deadline? They need to do something, right?

Katie Strang
  (2:41 PM)

Yeah, I think they do. At the very least to quell the storm. If they are even considering a coaching change, my guess is they at least try to bolster the team with a trade first to try and smooth the waters.

Tony (Perkis)

Who can the devils go after trade-wise to get themselves into a playoffs position?

Katie Strang
  (2:46 PM)

Sorry guys. Another freeze. Man, they need scoring in the worst way. Hemsky could be an interesting option.

Katie Strang
  (2:47 PM)

Sorry guys. Another freeze. Man, they need scoring in the worst way. Hemsky could be an interesting option.

Katie Strang
  (2:49 PM)

Alright we are gonna end there because my computer is being downright obnoxious. Will smack this sucker around a few times before next week's chat! Thanks for joining me today!