Sidney Crosby (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
The holiday season is a time of giving, and if we had our way each of the NHL teams would get a very special gift. Whether it’s playoff success or just some health, each team could use a little something.
Though the NHL may have the day off today, it doesn’t mean we don’t have a very special gift planned for each of the league’s 30 teams.
Seeing as today is Christmas Day for those who celebrate, The Hockey News has come up with a very special gift idea for your favorite teams. While we’re sure they’d love to find the Stanley Cup under the tree, we went with something they need, not something they want.
Anaheim Ducks: A healthy goaltender. After losing goaltenders Jason LaBarbera and John Gibson to injury, the Ducks were forced to sign Ilya Bryzgalov to a contract just to have a healthy backup.
Arizona Coyotes: Steady ownership. Will the saga in Arizona ever end?
Boston Bruins: A nice, shiny Chris Stewart. Only joking. But the Bruins do need some scoring punch for their top line. Seth Griffith, David Pastrnak, and Alex Khokhlachev aren’t quite ready just yet.
Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres could use some good health. With 10 of their regulars injured for Tuesday’s contest with the Detroit Red Wings, the Sabres could use a steady lineup if they have any chance of digging their way all the way out of the basement.
Calgary Flames: Most would have thought the Flames would have been looking for some good fortune, but they’ve been getting that in droves. What they could use now is that good fortune continuing.
Carolina Hurricanes: The Canes could use Jordan Staal being healthy, and that’s about to come to fruition. If they don’t start moving up the standings, the next best thing would be for Carolina to stay in the McDavid/Eichel sweepstakes.
Chicago Blackhawks: For the longest time it looked like the Blackhawks needed a second line center, but with consistency throughout the lineup right now, they’ve finally got exactly what they need. Continued health is all the Blackhawks may need to hoist the Stanley Cup again.
Colorado Avalanche: A time machine. How desperately do the Avalanche, and their fans, wish it were 2013-14 again? After a season of hearing how their underlying numbers would catch up, they finally have.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Amazingly, the Jackets are only nine points out of a playoff spot after injuries almost derailed their entire season. The Jackets need another long winning streak in order to make the playoffs.
Dallas Stars: This Christmas, the Stars would like to meet their expectations. After an off-season that had many picking Dallas to finish close to or at the top of the Western Conference, they’re a middle of the pack team.
Detroit Red Wings: Someone, anyone, needs to get the Red Wings a shootout win. At this point, you’ve got to wonder if Ken Holland isn’t simply instructing the team to blow all their shootouts so he has evidence to institute the longer overtime.
Edmonton Oilers: Forget a shootout win, the Oilers simply need a win of any kind. They’ve lost 19 of their last 20 and are having one of their worst seasons in recent memory, which is saying something.
Florida Panthers: Florida needs the playoffs and some steady attendance. If they can get both, maybe the rumors of the team leaving the Sunbelt can finally cease.
Los Angeles Kings: The Kings need the gift of recapturing their playoff form. As it stands, the Kings are barely holding on to a playoff berth, and playoff performers are not, they’re playing with fire if they keep sneaking into the dance.
Minnesota Wild: Goaltending. The Wild were looking like a sure fire contender in the Western Conference earlier this season, but if they can’t shore things up between the pipes they’re not even going to make the playoffs.
Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens need to hang on and make a playoff push. A hot start had many believing Montreal was more than the sum of its parts, but they’ve looked more and more like they’re going to be first round fodder. If they get hot, though, look out.
Nashville Predators: This holiday the Predators need everyone to take notice. They’re no longer the surprise story this season – Nashville is for real. With good goaltending and a healthy Pekka Rinne, it might be time for Nashville’s deepest run yet.
New Jersey Devils: A young star. With an aging roster led by a 42-year-old Jaromir Jagr, New Jersey desperately needs a young gun who can give fans some hope for the future.
New York Islanders: What the Islanders need most is to give their former home a great sendoff. After 33 years in Uniondale, the Isles head to Brooklyn next season just as things are starting to look up.
New York Rangers: The Rangers need continued success from Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist. If they can get both, they’re going to have a good shot at getting all the way back to the Stanley Cup Final.
Ottawa Senators: A bigger payroll. The Senators are struggling in large part due to continually a limited payroll, so if Eugene Melnyk can loosen the purse strings things could look up for the Sens.
Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers, more than anything, need help on the defensive side of the puck. Goaltending, defensemen, the whole thing. The team has the offensive power to pick up wins, but they’re allowing far too many goals.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby needs to stay healthy, as does the rest of the team. As of Wednesday, the Penguins have 13 players on the IR. With blood clots and the mumps virus, there have been far too many strange injuries in Pittsburgh.
San Jose Sharks: The Sharks have been hot of late, but they need to stay that way. Can somebody please push this team over the top, too? The Sharks not getting it done in the playoffs is getting tiring.
St. Louis Blues: Brian Elliott. The Blues need Elliott back badly, especially considering how poorly Martin Brodeur has played in his stead. If the Blues are to make a serious push in the post-season, they’ll need Elliott.
Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning have the second best goal differential in the Eastern Conference, but it could be higher if Steven Stamkos could catch fire. If he gets hot, watch out for Tampa.
Toronto Maple Leafs: To outlast their underlying numbers and bring calm to Leafs Nation. The Leafs haven’t had the greatest advanced statistics, and that’s been cause for concern for a long time now.
Vancouver Canucks: As far as the Canucks are concerned, all they need is to dig in and hold onto a playoff position. After a year that saw the firing of a coach, GM, the trading of the best goalie in franchise history, Canucks fans need something to look forward to.
Washington Capitals: The Capitals have always seemed like they were on the cusp of making noise in the playoffs, and could this be the year under new coach Barry Trotz? Trotz has the Caps in a playoff spot now, but they’re only hanging on by a point.
Winnipeg Jets: A healthy blueline. Because as it stands, the Jets are depleted on the backend. If they can keep up their current play, which has everyone believing they’re for real, they could shock someone come playoff time.