For many people around the world, the beginning of 2011 elicits the creation of a list of new year’s resolutions. Many scoff that odes to stop smoking or lose 20 lbs. are pipe dreams, but what’s wrong with a little optimism as the world cleans the slate of its calendar?
With that in mind, we decided to recommend a few changes (or sometimes with successful teams, what not to change) for each NHL team. We’ll go division by division in alphabetical order, because one of our resolutions is to be fair.
Atlantic Division new year’s resolutions
Cover up their deficiencies
Much like a Jacques Lemaire comb-over, the Devils must learn to mask their shortcomings by playing committed team defense while grinding out goals like it’s 2009 again.
Decide if they should clean house
While I feel like Martin Brodeur’s abysmal start doesn’t overshadow his accomplishments, the Devils need to decide if they want to keep their outstanding goalie – and their well respected general manager – in the fold despite a troubling 2010-11 season.
The Devils are likely to receive something they haven’t gotten in ages: a lottery pick. A high-end prospect could certainly help improve the team’s outlook.
Make nice with the media
A team in the Islanders’ position should probably make friends with media types interested in covering their woeful little team rather than blacklisting people.
Continue to stockpile prospects
Trading a 41-year-old goalie for a semi-recent first round draft pick shows that the Islanders at least have some direction (that isn’t just downward). I’m not sure they have many assets to trade anymore, though.
Keep Marian Gaborik healthy
Gaborik missed 12 games this season, but played way more than I expected the last two seasons. Whatever they’re doing to keep him relatively healthy, it seems like it’s working.
Stay tough on the road
The Rangers boast the NHL’s best away record, with a 13-6-1 mark. Whatever they’re doing away from Madison Square Garden, they should keep it up.
Choose two goalies
The Flyers need to figure out which two of the Sergei Bobrovsky, Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton they want to roll with in net.
Survive without Chris Pronger
Philly claims that their defensive issues cannot be tracked back to the lack of Pronger, but they probably face two weeks or more without their cornerstone defenseman. Considering the curse of Chris – that every team he left missed the playoffs without him – they need to at least tread water until he comes back.
Get Jordan Staal up to speed
The lanky two-way forward made his 2010-11 season debut in the Winter Classic, but despite showing some early zip, he still has a way to go before he is his old self. Having a shutdown center like Staal could really help the Penguins.
Keep Sidney Crosby and Marc-Andre Fleury going
Let’s not forget the rapidly improving play of Evgeni Malkin, either.