Merry Christmas and happy holidays to our readers. Here are a few gifts we wish we could give to the NHL teams we cover:
Anaheim Ducks: EA Sports' NHL 18 video game, with injuries turned off, to remind the Ducks how dominant they can be once everyone is healthy and playing at 100%.
Arizona Coyotes: New home to call their own. This franchise has been in limbo far too long. They also need a veteran go-to scorer with leadership skills, three bottles of 100 proof confidence, a bushel of goals and few thousand more hardcore fans. It’s hard to know what to get friends who need almost everything.
Boston Bruins: The keys to the city with Zdeno Chara's name on it. And a new contract. Because it's superhuman that he's still performing at a high level — and playing over 23 minutes per night — at age 40.
Buffalo Sabres: Fans might put coal in their stocking, but what the Sabres really need is time and patience for GM Jason Botterill and coach Phil Housley to put their stamp on the team. They inherited a team with no depth.
Calgary Flames: Peace on earth and goodwill with the mayor of Calgary. Discussion of this franchise possibly moving because it can’t obtain government support for a new arena seems too unthinkable to ponder. Work it out people. Compromise always works best.
Carolina Hurricanes: New owner Tom Dundon to be Santa Claus and give his team all the financial support it needs to make the playoffs.
Chicago Blackhawks: A visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past to remind them what was and what could be again if they just score a couple more goals. They are fifth in goals-against average, 11th in goals and 28th in power-play percentage.
Colorado Avalanche: A time machine to warp them into the future. Even if they've played better than expected, this group still seems like a few years from being a contender.
Columbus Blue Jackets: A self-help book about how to succeed with the man advantage. Their power play efficiency is 11% and ranks last in the NHL.
Dallas Stars: A persuasive writing class. Maybe a few 100 words on why the roster has playoff makeup will get them playing better than just missing the playoffs.
Detroit Red Wings: No more socks and underwear for general manager Ken Holland. He needs a top-pairing defenseman.
Edmonton Oilers: A star offensive-minded defenseman. How many years have they been asking for one of those?
Florida Panthers: Eyeglasses. The organization needs to operate under one vision. It has building-block pieces, but it has also made some head-scratching decisions recently. A reliance on a first line is a mark on their process.
Los Angeles Kings: A white Christmas. Going to the beach on Christmas every year must become boring. Legend has it that when Terry Sawchuk played for the Kings in 1967-68 he paid for crushed ice to be trucked to his home so his children could look out his front window and see a white Christmas on the front yard.
Minnesota Wild: A visit from Clarence the angel from It’s a Wonderful Life because they don’t seem to realize how much they have.
Montreal Canadiens: A mistletoe because they can kiss this season goodbye if they don’t give Carey Price more support.
Nashville Predators: No presents needed because Christmas came early in form of center Kyle Turris. This is a more complete team than the one that reached the Stanley Cup Final last season.
New Jersey Devils: A watering can. Their 19-9-5 record has surprised, but this young group still needs some time to grow to fully blossom to their potential.
New York Islanders: More Snow. The Islanders need GM Garth Snow to aggressively pursue the pieces to make a run this season. Isn’t that message they want to send to potential free agent John Tavares? (It should start with goalie help.)
New York Rangers: A new ratchet set to tighten down the defensive coverage. Only three NHL teams give up more shots on goal than the Rangers
Ottawa Senators: A book on etiquette that owner Eugene Melnyk can read. Could his recent fan-shaming have been more ill-timed?
Philadelphia Flyers: Patience. The Flyers’ future is bright, especially with regards to their blue line, but in an ultra-competitive division, the time might not be theirs just yet.
Pittsburgh Penguins: A bottle of aspirin to deal with the Stanley Cup hangover that has the Penguins this season. As we all know, they are better than their 17-15-3 record indicates.
San Jose Sharks: The Norelco shaver in that Santa-riding-down-the-hill commercial. C’mon, Joe and Brent, the beards are so 2015-16 and too baseballish.
St. Louis Blues: A vaccination for their rash of injuries. Because if they are healthy, this team is among the best.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Stay cool. While most of the league deals with wintry conditions, it can get hot in Tampa. The Lightning need to stay the course and good things could come.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Some giving friends. The Leafs need a bonafide first-pairing defenseman and have tokens to cash in for a grand prize. But who will be so nice?
Vancouver Canucks: A contract extension for GM Jim Benning. He’s earned more time. Rebuilding on the fly is challenging, but the strategy is working. Younger players are receiving their opportunity, and the team is improving. Injuries are not his fault. Stick tap to the Sedin twins who have aided the change with their class.
Vegas Golden Knights: A rewind button. Because why would they not want to relive the 22-9-2 start to their franchise’s first season? More of the same means comfortably in the playoffs.
Washington Capitals: A "Greatest Hits" CD of the past decade, with one song missing. That they will complete this season.
Winnipeg Jets: Gift certificate for a player to be named later. The Jets' building through the draft is paying dividends. Their offense is dangerous and their blue line is noteworthy. It makes sense for the Jets to be a buyer at the trade deadline. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff should add a piece with playoff experience to help push this group over the hump.