Heading in to the Christmas season I examine what every NHL team has on their Wish List
Philledelphia - The Flyers have just taken over the Atlantic Conference, and what they need more than anything is a healthy Chris Pronger who has had more surgeries in the last year than Heidi Montag. Next on their list is a time machine, to go back to unrestricted free agency last year and sign Tomas Vokoun and keep Jeff Carter so the Bryzgalov deal never happens. If they can't find a way to generate 1.21 Gigawatts then they'll need a Husqvarana to cut down the forest Ilya Bryzgalov is in.
Florida - One of the highest scoring D-corps in the league, has a great line in Kris Versteeg, Stephen Weiss and Thomas Fleischmann, all tied with 29 points on the year, but the next highest scorer after that is Thomas Kopecky with 13 - they could use a goal scorer, or, one of Jack Skille, Mike Santorelli or the rest of the crew to pick it up. If they can't look for them to make a move before the deadline.
Boston - The Bruins, if you don't hate them, are fun to watch. They are big and bad and they beat their way to success, and it looks like Tim Thomas is on his way to a third Vezina trophy. They are scoring in bunches and solid on the back end - I can't think of a single thing they need, and that's probably good because they're obviously on the naughty list anyway, well, Santas at least....
Pittsburgh - Penguins coach Dan Bylsma is hoping for a force-field to surround Sidney Crosby as he takes a precautionary two games off. Zybenak Michalek and Kris Letang both suffered concussions, so, the Pens need a little health, and if the back-end is injured long term they may be in the market for a d-man.
New York Rangers - Emerging as a dark-horse in the East the Rangers are buying in to Torts' system and locking down opponents. They still need some more scoring in a bad way, they have the fewest goals of all playoff teams in the East, fourth fewest in the division overall, luckilly they've allowed the second fewest too. Michael Del Zotto has stepped up in Marc Staal's absence but when Staal is healthy this team might just take it over the top.
Toronto - The leafs trainers room looks like a scene from MASH. Connoly, McArthur and Grabovski have all missed time, and reinvigerated d-man Mike Komisarek displaced Luke Schenn before suffering a broken arm, and the team struggled without starting goalkeeper James Reimer who missed time for an un-concussion. Not unlike any team they could use some health. But in the mean time a little scoring depth would help. Nik Kulemin hasn't gotten off to the start they'd hopped. Tyler Bozak's offensive outburst is a pleasant surprise but the scoring drops way off after Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. When Komisarek is healthy one of the young stud d-men could be trade bait for a veteran scorer.
Buffalo - The Sabres aren't getting a lot of offense from the back end and have been cold of late after a solid start. Ville Leino was signed from Philly as part of the restructuring that also brought in veteran d-men Christian Ehrhoff and Robyn Regher. Tyler Myers and Ryan Miller have both missed time with injury, and Drew Stafford is playing like, well, Drew Stafford again. The offense drops off after Vanek and Pomminville despite some impressive performances from youngsters Luke Adam and Zack Kassian. Hopefully Tyler Ennis will be the catalyst this team needs to get it back in to gear.
Ottawa - All Ottawa wants for Christmas is to not wake up from the dream they're living in. Also, some more of whatever Daniel Alfredsson is having. The veteran Swede is looking like his old, old self and Jason Spezza is looking like Steve Yzerman. Sergei Gonchar and Philip Kuba are out so the Sens will be leaning on Erik Karlsson even more, but they may need to look for a puck-moving veteran if those injuries are more serious.
Washington - Last game we saw the Great 8 wake up and play with some emotion. This team is too good to be where they are in the standings. The tandem of Tomas Vokoun and Michael Neuvirth were amazing to start the year but have come back down to earth recently; if the goaltending doesn't improve it might be time to dangle some of the young prospects and picks to acquire some help in net.
New Jersey - Pete De Boer is doing a respectable job in New Jersey with the oldest goaltending tandem since Jacques Plante and Glenn Hall. Travis Zajac has been out all year and the team has been riding Ilya Kovalchuk hard. Zack Parise is finally starting to play better and David Clarkson has really stepped up, but this team needs scoring and a goalie and if they're out of it around deadline time Parise may be a chip to be played.
Montreal - The Habs just jetisoned Jaro Spacek to Carolina for Tomas Kaberle; apparently things are worse in Montreal than we thought. Unless they're planning to convert Kaberle to a winger then it's a saw-off. This team has got to be one of the smallest up front ever and they lack emotion, effort, team-work...just about everything. They will need to add a difference maker up front if they have any plans of making the playoffs. It might be time to talk buy-out with Scott Gomez.
Winnipeg - The Jets are flying of late, fighting back to .500 hockey after a terrible start and are doing so on the strength of power forward Evander Kane. Dustin Byfuglien has regained his form after a tumultous offseason. All the Jets want for Christmas is for Big Buff not to go to the Big House...a little scoring help would be nice too.
Tampa Bay - The Lightning finally broke a lengthy losing skid, but have lost Martin St.Louis for an extended period. They'll also be loaning Brett Connolly to Canada for the WJC in December. This might not be the best time to open things up, but they desperately need to improve their ability to score goals and prevent them. They have a number of young prospects that could land the necessary pieces...oh, and a d-man would be nice too.
New York Islanders - The Isles just climbed out of last place in the East, or did Carolina leave them no option? Either way they're above .500 in their last ten and Kyle Okposo and Matt Moulson have woken up in a big way, just in time to save Jack Capuanos job. If they play Al Montoya the rest of the way they have a chance. Like the Habs they need to consider a buy-out. Their second leading point scorer on the back end is Milan Jurcina with 4 - this is a problem. They'll need to add a d-man and a little scoring help soon. They're just two games below .500 and have played the fewest games in the league thus far. If their wish-list is fulfilled this rag-tag bunch could be a playoff contender.
Carolina - The Hurricanes are a bad team. They've over-valued their in-house youth and are the victim of Eric Staal's apparent pitty-party which he has been hosting since he hurt is baby-bwutha Marc. Cam Ward isn't performing any miracles in the crease this season and there is no depth scoring...there isn't even scoring period. The Canes need to add impact forwards and defenseman soon or they could be in real trouble.
Ok, we'll tackle the West this afternoon.