Who Needs What! Part 1 Well lads and lassies, its that time of year again! Time to remove the training wheels and go full throttle to the finish line. The big question now is finding out what each memeber at the dance needs before the trade deadline approaches. we'll start in the eastern conference with first place down to eighth, as we speak the eastern conference standings are as so: Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington, Montreal, New York Rangers and Carolina, with Atlanta and Buffalo following respectively. each team will be assessed by what makes them strong now and what they might do to improve by trade deadline. So lets begin!
1-Philadelphia: Now philly has proven to be one of the best teams this year up to now. They show great grit and defensive core and a well balanced attack force with great skill. But what they lack the most in this years amazing race is goaltending! the big question will be between the pipes and with this years deadling approaching the crop of goalies on the market are slim to none. If they can by miracle land a goaltender by the trade deadline look for philly to be a definate cup conteneder.
2-Tampa Bay: This has got to be a cindarella story in the making, with a rookie Owner, GM, Coach Staff. But don't get fulled be the lack of NHL Managment Guru's this team is well secured for years to come. they play a fast pace game dividend of there coach's style and trade mark, but with a team led by a young group and surrounded by Vet's like St-Louis, Lecavalier and Malone and Gangne, this team is one or two players shy of another title. Thier main problem is on Defence and Goaltending, they need some one to icsolate Hedman and show him the ropes. Kubina and Ohlund are great players but are not the best puck moving D-Man on the market. The Aquisition of M-A. Bergeron will help the lack of offence but they will need to go out and trade for big puck moving Defence. The second problem is Goaltending, you will not win with Roloson, Desjardins and Ellis.
3-Boston: Now in bostons case it's not goaltending and Defence the problem, it's up front. When you have a 43 year old playing on your first line you lack depth. Boston has enough grit and 2nd, 3rd and 4th line players they need Attack and skilled forwards. Look for them to shop for one especially with Savard out indefenatly.
4-Pittsburgh: The penguines are a funny bird, much like the team. they have great strength down the middle, but they can never keep the top two line wingers, But as we saw in the past, they will defenatly try and land some top wingers on the deadline. With Crosby out till Mid march and Malkin out for the year, it's an essential need to get fire power for some support.
5-Washington: Washington must have there heads so deep in the ground with shame, because of the season there having. they have a team built for a cup and cannot win if life depended on it. there monster up front is having a horible year and thier two top centre's Semin and Backstrom are mediocre at best. IMHO i think they need a coaching change more than a trade.
6-Montreal: Now the habs would need a bit of help both up front and at D. The fact that they want to keep the first two lines mobile and fast is ok, but they want to do so, they need to bulk up and gritty the thrid and forth line. If it means getting rid of Pyatt, Koystisen, and you name it then fine, but they need to get bigger and stronger to support to protect the smaller forwards. on the D line they would need to find a body to pick up what georges started. maybe get bigger to as well to replace O'Byrne in size but a good transition player for PK to learn from.
7-NY Rangers: The Rangers have surged lately and are starting to play stronger and more as a team but they seriously lack on defence and Top Two attackers, Gaborik is not a playoff performer and is very bi-polar in the zones. When your team is based soully on one player your screwed. llook for them to beef up on D and up front.
8-Carolina: Carolina is what we call an over acheiver, they have a team that you can quite put your finger on wether they will win or loose a game. they got great skill and are good puck moving team but they are often lost in translation when it comes to performing for 60 mins. They would need some grit players and some solid D-men they have enough so called puck movers.
9-Atlanta: On the out side looking in, Atlanta is very close to having a regular playoff perfomance. they need some better support from thier fans and maybe a couple of well established fowards and D-man. It's more of a geling team thing than a lack of skill.
10-Buffalo: These guys on the other hand are a very confusing bunch, they have the worst team on paper IMO and yet every year they perform in the season, they have arguably the best golie in the league and thats it. they got some great plumbers on the 3rd and 4th line but what they lack is Attack, they need both on the blue line and on the first two lines. they have lots of cap but the big boss has to be willing to give the money and assets to trade for them.
So this is your Eastern cost time linbe for trades, i don't see much change in the standing unless for the 7th and below maybe changing it up a few times but from 1st to 6th remain roughly the same. keep an eye out for the Devils, they might make a run for the playoffs suprise a few teams along the way.
in the second part i will be going over the Western coast needs before the trade deadline.
enjoy the hunt, have fun and keep your stick on the ice.