2011 NHL New Year’s resolutions: Northwest Division
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.
Click here for the Atlantic Division post.
Click here for the Central Division post.
Click here for the Northeast Division post.
Now here’s the Northwest Division’s new years resolutions.
Well, they already lost dead weight
Firing Darryl Sutter on December 28th really gave the Flames a head start. It’s sort of like losing 10 lbs. over the holiday season - unexpected but a good idea.
Time for a fire sale
Unfortunately, the Flames are in Biggest Loser mode: they have a lot more dead weight to lose. Jay Feaster needs to act like the general manager equivalent of Jillian Michaels by getting rid of way more weight. It might be painful in the short run, but trading Jarome Iginla and other aging, expensive players while they still have plenty of trade value is the best course to take.
Tell Chris Stewart to use his hands to score goals
That whole “fighting” thing should be left to people who do little to nothing else.
Re-sign Craig Anderson
The goalie market is incredibly dry right now, so maybe the Avalanche should consider jumping the gun and try to lock down the goalie who carried them during the 2010-11 season. Unless, of course, the Avs aren’t convinced that he is the right goalie for them ...
Commit to the badness, but grow
The Oilers clearly have no chance to make the playoffs, so they shouldn’t mess it up by ruining their chances to land another high-end draft pick by going on a late season run. With all the talent coming into that team, another top five pick could set Edmonton up to follow in the footsteps of other clubs that restocked through the draft like Pittsburgh, Washington and Chicago.
That being said, they need to learn lessons about why they are losing. Most importantly, the next suggestion:
Find some defense
Edmonton is well-stocked with offensive blueliners, but they could really use some defensemen who ... you know, play defense. They’re currently ranked last in the league in goals allowed.
When you look at the Wild roster, it’s full of expensive players who aren’t providing the kind of results worthy of their bloated salaries. It’s a lot like the situation in Calgary, although Minnesota’s core is at least a little younger.
What could make them a viable team? Some better draft picks, because Minnesota isn’t exactly a high-end spot for free agents (nor do they have much cap space to sign them if they did).
Figure out the Sami Salo situation
Chances are, the Canucks wish that Sami would act on his urges to retire. Otherwise they have a problem on their hands, as the injury-prone defenseman isn’t a significant enough improvement to be worth all the trouble.
Stay the course
Vancouver is a clear contender for the Cup, considering the fact that they are the top team in the NHL right now. So they don’t need to make a bold trade to bolster their roster, but maybe a slight tweak might be the best thing to do.