With Christmas coming up, letters and wish lists are being mailed to the North Pole. While the majority of those come from kids, there’s no reason NHL GM’s shouldn’t also give it a shot.
In fact, here’s a few ideas for them.
Anaheim: Puck luck. For the love of God, puck luck.
Arizona: Sure, the Coyotes have been surprisingly good and the Pacific is wide open. Don’t be fooled. Arizona has a long way to go both as a team and an organization. Scottsdale native and presumed 2016 first overall pick Auston Matthews could go a long way to helping them get there.
Boston: Rumors of the Bruins demise were greatly exaggerated. Well, for now. Trading Dougie Hamilton and Tyler Seguin severely shortened their window. So, maybe Santa could bring them a nice time machine.
Buffalo: The Sabres have been spoiled in recent holiday seasons, so how about something practical this year? A nice second-pairing defenseman should do nicely.
Calgary: 112 goals allowed already and they’re battling for a playoff spot out of the Pacific. Imagine if they had one goalie. Please help, Santa.
Carolina: The Canes also have goaltending issues. Even worse, they have an aging underachiever signed long term. A nice Cam Ward buyout would be nice.
Chicago: Stan Bowman has been wrestling with the salary cap since 2010. I bet he’d like a year off from that.
Colorado: I’m not really sure where to start here. I know it’s asking a lot, but how about an entirely new front office.
Columbus: Well, John Tortorella hasn’t been able to turn the Blue Jackets season at all but at least he’s feuding with the team’s best player. Maybe Santa could drop off a pink slip before things get too out of hand.
Dallas: 114 goals already. I bet that goal lamp could use some new batteries.
Detroit: The Red Wings have four Stanley Cups since 1997, a near-quarter-century long playoff streak, some star-level veterans, awesome young players and are generally the most well-respected organization in hockey. So, I guess they’ll ask for socks this year.
Edmonton: The Oilers aren’t winning the Stanley Cup this year. But getting Connor McDavid back from a broken collarbone earlier than expected would be a nice little Christmas surprise.
Florida: The Panthers are blossoming into a solid team, but they’re still not playing into front of very many fans. Maybe Santa could get them an arena that’s not located in a town of 90,000 people 40 minutes outside of Miami.
Los Angeles: The Kings might have the Pacific division wrapped up by mid-February. How about a book of crossword puzzles so they don’t get too bored before the playoffs.
Minnesota: I’m thinking a book on witchcraft. Anything that’ll help them figure out how to beat Chicago in the playoffs.
Montreal: So, Carey Price is going to miss some time. After a season of basically carrying a mediocre Montreal team to a division title and nearly a decade of playing in one of hockey’s most demanding markets, maybe Price could use a tropical vacation.
Nashville: The Predators have another solid team. The only thing they’re missing is a true number one center. I’m not sure where to find one but maybe Father Christmas will know.
New Jersey: The Devils are OK, but not realistically good enough to stay in the playoff race. They also don’t have much (if anything) in the way of prospects. Of course, they’re too far along to tank this year. And Corey Schneider is signed long term, so it won’t be easy to tank anytime soon. Maybe the Devils could use a road map on where the franchise is headed?
New York Islanders: Despite the new home and a very solid team, the Islanders are actually behind Florida in home attendance (only ahead of Carolina). They were 25th last year, but averaged 3,000 more fans per game. Maybe fans aren’t interested in the extra travel. Some kind of futuristic shuttle from Long Island to Brooklyn would be good then. Couldn’t hurt to ask.
New York Rangers: The Rangers started off hot, going 16-3-2 through the first 21 games. However, the team sported some unimpressive underlying numbers. Since then, the team has struggled. This might be more than a skid. So, maybe a guide on how to talk to your local statistician about regression.
Ottawa: The fact that this team is competitive is a testament to how incredible Erik Karlsson is. He’s only 25, but it’s never too early to start the hero worship. A nice statue outside the Canadian Tire Center should work.
Philadelphia: This team could take a while to sort out. I recommend some literature on the art of patience.
Pittsburgh: The Penguins need competent coaching desperately. Maybe Mike Sullivan is the gift they need.
San Jose: The Sharks should be standing when the dust settles among the bottom six teams in the Pacific. They should be asking Santa for one last deep playoff run with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. It’s mind-boggling that a team with this caliber of a duo for more than a decade has yet to play a Stanley Cup game.
St. Louis: The Blues are going to make the playoffs after another 100-point regular season (most likely). We know that. What we don’t know is if they can get past the second round of the playoffs. Nothing they do before May will impress anyone. Maybe Santa could bring them the universal remote from Click so they can fast forward until then.
Tampa Bay: Maybe Santa needs to have a long talk with the Lightning front office. Maybe they need to be reminded that Steven Stamkos is one of the greatest goal scorers the league has ever seen. Maybe they’ve forgotten that Stamkos is only 25 and is already closing in on 300 goals. Maybe they don’t remember that he once scored 60 goals in a season. And after the talk is done, they’ll realize how much more important a transcendent player is than an above-average coach.
Toronto: Since the Maple Leafs seem primed to get some gifts via the draft lottery over the next couple seasons, how about a gift for the fans? A TV package that allows them to watch every Marlies game.
Vancouver: The Sedins are still the Sedins but maybe Santa could leave the Canucks some secondary scoring under the tree this year.
Washington: The Capitals have been pretty great this year. It seems like this could finally be the year they play well enough in the spring to make a run and allow Alex Ovechkin to dazzle on the national stage for a couple months. So, it wouldn’t hurt to ask Santa for continued good health.
Winnipeg: The Jets are a solid team with some nice young players. But they’ll need a little more punch if they want to jump into the top five of the Central Division. Maybe another forward. But wherever would they happen upon one of those?