A list of wishes for each NHL team for 2012, with assists from Scotty Wazz and Jonny P of The Face Off Hockey Show. Enjoy!
Anaheim Ducks. A serious rebuild. The Ducks have been slowly falling apart since their championship season in 2007. Finishing near the bottom of the standings will finally force management to commence rebuilding in earnest.
Boston Bruins. Become the first team since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings to repeat as Stanley Cup champs. I’m not a Bruins fan, I just think it’s been too long since a team repeated as champions.
Buffalo Sabres. The realization for their front office that throwing a lot of money at free agents isn’t the best way to build into a Cup contender. It’s okay, I know you’re new at it. Just don’t do it again.
Calgary Flames. A quality first line center for Jarome Iginla’s line, and more secondary scoring. For all the talk of trading Iginla, they could add a few more years to his career with a good playmaking center.
Carolina Hurricanes. A change in management. Hey, I’m sure Jim Rutherford’s a good guy, and he did build the Hurricanes into a Cup champion in 2006. But since that achievement, the Hurricanes have only made the playoffs once, and have no chance of clinching a berth this season. Time for a change in the GM’s office.
Chicago Blackhawks. The addition of a good second-line center, a number six defenseman, and for goalie Corey Crawford to regain his form. With those needs addressed, the Blackhawks could march to another Stanley Cup title.
Colorado Avalanche. Consistency. This team has some very good young talent, but they’ve been up-and-down like a yo-yo this season. It’s time the Avs started playing their way into playoff contention.
Columbus Blue Jackets. A major overhaul. From the general manager, to the head coach, to their goaltending, to their defense, secondary scoring and checking lines. The only untouchables should be Rick Nash, Jeff Carter, R.J. Umberger, James Wisniewski and Ryan Johansen.
Dallas Stars. A healthy Kari Lehtonen. Props to new backup Richard Bachman for holding the fort, but if the Stars hope to make the playoffs, they need Lehtonen at his best.
Detroit Red Wings. A physical first line right wing with a good scoring touch. Todd Bertuzzi’s getting past it. Perhaps Carolina’s Tuomo Ruutu could be a good fit?
Edmonton Oilers. A couple of top two defensemen. Ryan Whitney’s been hobbled by injuries, and Tom Gilbert and Ladislav Smid are second pairing material. The absence of such defensemen is arguably the biggest reason the Oilers are falling in the standings.
Florida Panthers. Keep up their winning ways. The Panthers are poised to become a playoff team for the first time in 12 years. Here’s hoping they don’t fall off the rails in the second half of the season.
Los Angeles Kings. A slap-upside the head of GM Dean Lombardi, for believing he can cure his team’s scoring problems by replacing their old “defense-first” coach with another “defense-first” coach.
Minnesota Wild. Better footing. They’ve stumbled of late and have dropped from first to sixth overall in the Western Conference. Injuries have been a factor, but they’ll have to find a way to halt their current skid.
Montreal Canadiens. The realization – for their fans and pundits, as well as the front office – that winning, not linguistics, was once all that mattered to this once-glorious, now mediocre franchise.
Nashville Predators. Figuring out how to re-sign Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, and still have enough cap space to bolster their offense.
New Jersey Devils. One time only amnesty in the next CBA to get out of that horrible contract with Ilya Kovalchuk.
New York Islanders. Someone who’s willing to run this team seriously. Yes, Charles Wang saved them in 2000, but seeing the joke this once-great franchise continues to be makes one almost wish the Islanders was bought by someone who actually gives a damn about winning, even if it meant moving them.
New York Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist gets the recognition he deserves as one of the league’s top goaltenders.
Ottawa Senators. Stick with your rebuilding plan. The Senators have exceeded expectations and shown considerable promise. Stick with the kids and avoid chasing expensive veterans next summer, or at the trade deadline.
Philadelphia Flyers. Ilya Bryzgalov rediscovers the form that made him one of the better goalies in the league the past couple of years. He’s been quite ordinary this season, which should make the Flyers nervous, considering how much money and for how long they’ve invested in him.
Phoenix Coyotes. An end to their ownership saga. Hopefully, they’ll get someone committed to keeping them in Phoenix, but if not, a move to another city in time for next season. Just end this uncertainty.
Pittsburgh Penguins. A speedy recovery for their injured stars, especially Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang. Imagine how much better the Penguins would be if they had a healthier lineup.
St. Louis Blues. Ken Hitchcock’s coaching magic continues behind the bench . The Blues have significantly improved under Hitchcock, and look like a serious playoff team.
San Jose Sharks. A better penalty kill, because it’s currently third-worst in the league. Teams with a PP this bad don’t go on to win Stanley Cups.
Tampa Bay Lightning. A true starting goaltender. Dwayne Roloson’s had it, and Mathieu Garon cannot be expected to carry the load. Without improvement between the pipes, the Lightning are finished this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs. An experienced starting goalie. James Reimer hasn’t been the same since his early season head injury and Jonas Gustavsson isn’t the answer. Without better goaltending, the Leafs, like the Lightning, will miss the playoffs.
Vancouver Canucks. Keep alternating Roberto Luongo and Corey Schneider. Not only are they winning by doing this, it’s driving the trade rumor mill crazy.
Washington Capitals. Finding their winning mojo. Somewhere along the line, this Cup contender stopped playing like one, and a coaching change hasn’t improved the situation. If they don’t pick things up in the second half, they’ll be lucky just to make the post-season.
Winnipeg Jets. Making the playoffs. Winnipeg fans got an NHL team back, got their wish in having them christened the Jets, and the team is playing better than some observers expected. Making the playoffs would be the cherry on the sundae.