Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Presents for Each Team: Metropolitan

Merry Christmas, everyone! Finishing off the divisional looks at every team's Christmas wish, we come home to the Metro. Here we go:

Pittsburgh Penguins: Health for Crosby. Honestly, it's hard to find anything wrong with the Penguins right now. Despite a lot of injuries on the blue line, the Pens still hold one of the best defenses and penalty kills in the game, and obviously their offense is awesome, including a power play that is second in the league. Really the only thing they can wish for is hope their best player stays healthy, but with the wealth of weapons they have, they could probably muddle through it.

Washington Capitals: DE-FENSE! All Caps fans know the chant right now. Despite having an offense that's just rolling right now, and a goaltending squad that hasn't been bad, with all three with a save percentage above .910. However, the Caps need to improve their defense. It's not for lack of stars, as much as it is for lack of good shutdown defensemen. Their giving up more than 30 shots against per game, second worst in the league. The Caps probably have been asking Santa Claus for somebody to help out with that for a while now.

Philadelphia Flyers: Goalie Depth. The Flyers have only played two goaltenders so far this year, and other than Steve Mason who has been excellent, their backup is Ray Emery who has been, well, not. Their offense and defense, while not great, has not been bad, in the middle of the pack in most important stats. Mason has done much better this year than he has for much of the past few years. Emery on the other hand has a save percentage at .885, and is probably best known this year for his beat-down on Braden Holtby. The Flyers need somebody more capable of backing up Mason.

New York Rangers: Five-on-Five Play. There are two main problems with this team: their lack of consistent goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist (although his backup Cam Talbot has been fantastic), and their even-strength play, which is even worse than Washington's. Their defense under Alain Vigneault has been fantastic, and their power play has not been bad either, but their even strength play must improve or the Rangers will be in for a long season. Without a doubt, their wish for Santa is someone (or something) to help them out with that.

New Jersey Devils: More Offense. The Devils have one of the best defenses in the league, allowing the least shots per game in the league, the only team allowing fewer than 25 shots against per game. However, they are also dead last in shots per game, with just 25.4 shots per game. The Devils don't have any young offensive talent to help out; their leading scorer is 41 year old Jaromir Jagr. If I'm the Devils, I'm asking Santa for someone younger with better stamina and lots of skill to help the offensive production.

Columbus Blue Jackets: More Shots. Right now, the Jackets are carrying a fairly unsustainable shooting percentage. They are 13th in goals per game, but 25th in shots per game, with a team shooting percentage of about 10%, which is pretty high for a team. Especially considering this is a team without many offensive stars, this is a huge problem. The only way Columbus can claw its way back in the playoff race is by increasing the number of shots they send on goal. The best way to help that is probably by getting back Marian Gaborik back and healthy, which should be Columbus's main Christmas wish this year.

Carolina Hurricanes: Better Defense. Another team in need of a way to improve their shots against per game, which is 23rd in the league. Their offensive production, while not great, hasn't been bad either, and while Cam Ward has struggled a bit, his backups Justin Peters and even Anton Khubodin have been really good. What the Canes really must be asking for this Christmas is somebody to help their defense. Only 2 of their 8 defensemen have a positive plus/minus; yes, this is a flawed stat, but it doesn't change the fact that better defensive players aren't necessary to help this team.

New York Islanders: Goaltending. For as bad the offense and defense are, it doesn't change the fact that the team save percentage is less than .900, and only one of their three goalies have a save percentage above that threshold, and he, Evgeni Nabokov, has a save percentage of .901. The Isles really need somebody to help their goaltender depth, and that should definitely be their Christmas wish.

Here's wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and a happy rest of the holiday season!

No comments:

Post a Comment