First half of the season is finally over, for the most part. I tried to be as reasonable as possible giving the grades out to the teams, ad explaining why. Obviously I will get negative and positive comments. If you have a negative comment, then discuss and tell me why you disagree. I rather have that than an immature comment. Thank you.Anaheim Mighty Ducks
Looking at this team’s record, it is not all that bad, especially when they are lacking depth in every position, except goaltending. Lately, they have been working harder, and they deserve some credit. One thing I am very confused about this team is the lack of management. The team must decide on Kariya, whether to keep him or to trade him. If they decide to keep him, then make a trade already. The team needs a number one center that can score especially when Kariya is on the wing. This team cannot play the next 42 games without making a change. Friesen has to start scoring the goals he is capable to score, or else this team is going no where.
Excellent youth program, but this team is on the border to get an F. The only reason why they did not receive an F was because of Kovalchuk and Heatley. Kovalchuk seems to be the next NHL star, or I should say the next Ya$hin. What is taking so long for this team to improve? No improvements on the defense, goaltending, and fore-checking lines. Although they could be tricky, and could easily beat a team, chances are the Thrashers will never be close to compete the 9th seed, unless the general manager starts making some changes. When you have two potential rookies, you build around them, but those two kids need someone to lead them. The building process of this team is too slow.
When this team’s key players score, they win. This team consists of the real true power forwards that are rare to find; Joe Thornton, Bill Guerin, and Glen Murray. It is hard to believe that Guerin might be traded, which should indicate the poor management of the team. The defense needs to be worked on, allowing 4 goals against the Lightning is not a good sign. The B’s deserve that record, and deserve a B+ for showing up and playing like a team that is hungry for playoffs. Although LaPointe’s contract is something to laugh at, he does make a difference on the team. The team and Robby Ftorek deserve the B+, not GM O’Connell.
GM Regier is not thinking too wisely. He did make some good acquisitions in his history with the Sabres, but it is time to look at the present and future. He must make a trade, get rid of Chris Gratton, and acquire a player that can spark this team. The defense and goaltending is not as strong as last season, and if you want to talk offense…there is none. JP Dumont is scoring, which is great, and also Satan, but you cannot depend on these two players. Buffalo should realize they only have two choices. A) Rebuild B) Make some changes. I would go for rebuild since this team’s chances of making the playoffs look slim, and the chances of the team getting one win in a playoff series of the 1st round also seem slim. Trade Gratton, or Essensa, since teams are looking for a back up.
I was thinking about giving this team a B- because of their poor record in December, only winning 4 games. This team only has one major player more than one major line. If Iginla is injured, then this team will face a steep downfall. They are too weak, and if they think they will be in the playoffs, then they must add something extra, meaning a trade. One player just doesn’t cut it. The defense is decent, and it was not a smart move to sign Turek during the season. Formula: If signing Turek during the season was a bad idea + Signing Irbe during the season was a bad idea = signing Cujo during the season would be a bad idea. So, back to the Flames. The Flames scored 98 goals and allowed 99 goals. The Flames need something extra on the attack, because as you saw Iginla going on a slump, the Flames lost games. But, they deserve this B for having a good season, and making the right trades.
The Canes are too streaky. They get hot, and they get cold, too inconsistent. I am actually surprised by the number of goals allowed by this team (currently 120 GA). It is time for a change. Scoring is not the problem, the defense is the problem. Barrasso is playing very well, but he is not the type of goalie who will come up big every game. Irbe must get back in his starting goaltender shape. Is it possible that he would be traded? I doubt it. The Canes have to shop Ozolinsh, and get a solid young rugged stay at home defenseman, who punishes well. They deserve to get a B since many hockey sources rated them as a non playoff contender, and they still remain as one…with a bright future as well.
They will certainly make the playoffs, as they are the 2nd best team in the NHL. In my opinion, I think they should trade Amonte, since he is not scoring. Amonte should be having a great season so he could ask for a higher salary, but he isn’t. In this case, trade Amonte. The defense is not as good as it should be, and the team’s numbers are very similar to the Rangers. GM Smith did not make many changes to the team, so give a lot of credit to Thibault, Daze, Zhamnov, the rest of the team, and the coach. A well deserved B+ for playing like a real team.
The defense and the fantastic goaltending by Roy are the reason why the Avs receive a B. The Avs only allowed 81 goals (tied with the Flyers), and that makes up for their lack of scoring goals (rank 17th). Much more was expected from this team, but not to forget that Forsberg is not on the line-up, and soon will be. The player who needs to step up his game the most now is Chris Drury. The defense looks very good, and Patrick Roy has another milestone season, and remains as the best goaltender in the league. If the Avs can score more goals in the 2nd half (only 99GF this 1st half), then they have a good chance of repeating, but they must get back into playoff shape. Bottom line is, goals are needed.
This team does not know how to score, how to defend, how to win, and how to make changes, but they do know how to lose. The Thrashers have 24 points, but at least they have talent and know how to score. The B’jacks don’t have a potential scorer, or a bright future star. They have Tugnutt, who is useless for the team, so why not trade him? Why can’t they make a trade? Poor job done by GM MacLean, he should at least show some signs of helping the team. The B’jacks cannot depend on their trap system, but they do give a tough time for the opponents, which is a bright side. Bottom line is, make the changes that the Wild had done before season started.
This team faced too many problems and doesn’t look like a real team yet. Belfour is not having the typical season you’d expect him to have. The Stars should not have that type of record, especially with the players they have on the team. This team might need a change around the All Star Game break. Hitchcock had his problems with some players, Zubov and Sydor have been struggling, Turgeon is not putting up the points he should be putting up, and this concludes that this team has a problem. Only 4 games above .500 and a bad home record which is one game under .500, but no excuses, this team should be competing with the Avs and the Red Wings, and they are not.
Detroit Red Wings
Detroit lost? Oh no! They now have 8 losses! This team is just dominating this season. They are dominating scoring goals and winning games. It is not as easy as it used to be to sign pro veterans and expect them to play well right away. GM Holland and Scotty Bowman did a fine job with this team. They clicked right away and it is tough for an opponent to face Robitaille, Shanahan, Yzerman, Lidstrom, Hull, and Fedorov. Hasek is not having the season everyone expected him to have, but the Red Wings play a fast paced offensive game too, not the Sabres defensive style game, and by the way, the Red Wings have only allowed 87 goals, which is good…not much to complain on Hasek. What else can I say about this team, they are great, although, Holland would have made a wiser choice to trade Osgood instead of placing him on waivers. A trade of Osgood for Isbister would have been great, or even Scatchard.
What a team. They are the youngest team in the NHL, and a team that people ranked as 7th to 11th in predictable Western Conference standings. They deserve that A- for playing like the real pro’s, especially without Doug Weight. They have a good goalie, although Salo has been losing recently, but the back up Markannen has been fabulous (especially if you play in the CBS fantasy league). They are a real team and a true playoff contender. These young players will only get better and better as they play in the playoffs, and I actually pick them as a future dominating team in 3 or 4 years, if they keep this team together. They are a top team in the NHL, yet the youngest. They simply deserve an A-.
They can’t score, they can’t play defense, they can’t win, they can’t make a trade, but they know how to lose 7-1. This team is either going down the drain or make some moves to show good signs. Pavel Bure is scoring almost half the goals he had in the first half of last season. This team’s plan is to wait and see how the Bure brothers will play, when Val comes back. If both cannot help this team, then Pavel will go “buh bye”. Either way, this team needs a lot more. They are building around Luongo and now Huselius, but they must make a change. Pavel Bure and Trevor Kidd should be as good as gone either before or after the Olympics. The Devils should be looking forward to get Trevor Kidd, who will be Brodeur’s life saver. It wouldn’t be such a bad idea for the Devils to go after Bure either, but that would only happen if GM Lou would get high. Panthers management is careless, and Keenan would actually fix this team if he was also the GM. After a humiliating loss to the Bruins, the Panthers showed some positive signs by beating the Leafs, and Hedican stepped his game up notch in that game. This team looks helpless and hopeless for anything good to happen. It is a waste of money to pay P. Bure and not seeing him score the goals he should be scoring.
Los Angeles Kings
They are 6-2 in their last 8 games, which is a great sign saying “PLAYOFFS 43 MILES”. It’s actually 43 games but you get my little retarded joke no? Ok, so why does this team deserve a C? Well, goaltending is not solid, and the only good trade Taylor did was to acquire Allison. The Kings had such a poor start that it is unsure how far they will go. Obviously, this was not expected from the Kings, especially when they acquired Allison. Kings should have a winning record, but injuries did affect this team. How weak are they when only missing Schneider and Palffy? Too weak.
No one expected this team to have this type of record. They are playing a good sophomore year, and you have to give them some credit for playing tough. They struggle sometimes, but they always seem to climb back and win a game. Lemaire has them working real well, and this team could have a lucky and wild 2nf half of the season to reach the 8th seed, if they are lucky (noticed my other little retarded joke with wild? heheh….ugh God I hate myself) They have their future stars, like Mitchell (what a steal) and Gaborik. Two players in two different areas to build around with. They are building this team well, and heading in the right direction. Only 3 games under .500, it is a well deserved C+.
They are playing without their main players, yet they are not giving up. This team is playing with a lot of heart, and will fight back to stay above .500. Hackett needs to get back in shape, so the Habs can trade him and help their forward lines, and defense. Theodore is playing great, Perrault is playing really well, Gilmour is a great presence in the locker room, and they are playing like a team, good teamwork. They lack scoring and they lack true first line players. The problem with the Canadiens is that they don’t have the depth to make trades, besides Hackett and Savage. Trading Savage would be a great idea at this point, since he is a streaky scorer, and I think he will sign with the Leafs for next season anyway, or he would go for the most money offered. The Habs can make great comebacks as they scored 4 unanswered goals against the Isle’s to tie it a 5, but losing the game in OT. They worked hard to get those 4 goals, which is not easy when you are down 5-1. I always wonder how this team would do with a complete line-up, especially Audette and Koivu playing. A C+ is great for the Habs, but management must make a change this season.
This team was overrated, in my opinion, by some hockey sources such as The Hockey News. This team does not score as much as they should when they have good defense, good goaltender, and young players. All this team needs is a true goal scorer. When a defenseman leads the team in goals, (Delmore 12g) it is not a good sign, and that usually means you’d want to get a scorer if you want your team to make the playoffs. The Predators will go nowhere until they trade for a scorer, at least someone who can net 25 goals. They have a really bad away record (4-11-2) and that must be fixed. If the team is not good in road games, then something is really wrong. The reason why they deserve a C is because of the lack of scoring, you cannot be successful when not scoring goals.
New Jersey Devils
The record is unacceptable for a team that went two straight years in the finals. Being ranked 17th in the league and on the border of 9th and 8th seed is unacceptable. Being ranked 26th in the league in GF is unacceptable. Letting Brodeur play 97% of the games is unacceptable. To have Colin White lead the team with just a +8 compared to last season’s +/- rating is unacceptable. To trade away two important prospects for a decent veteran defenseman is unacceptable when the team needs scoring and a back up. Knowing the main problem since training camp was a back up goalie and after 37 games the team still lacks a solid back up goalie, is also unacceptable. So many unacceptable things that only turn out to be problems. It is rare for a team to play in the finals two seasons in a row, and to then have these many problems the next season, very rare, but let’s not forget that the Devils did not make the playoffs after the 1995 Stanley Cup victory, which was surprising. Will the same thing happen this season? Naaaa, I doubt it, but there is a lot of work to be done on this devilish team. Holik and Rafalski have been the best players lately. Elias is leading the team with 15 goals, but in the past 10 games, he has slowed down his scoring. It will be very hard for the Devils to land a scorer on their team, since Bobby Holik will be the major trade bait. If the Devils want Amonte, then they must give up Holik. They are not in a good situation here. Gomez is not playing as he did the past two seasons when playing with top wingers, but it seems as if he cannot put up the numbers when playing with decent wingers. Arnott is scoring goals, and trying hard to score them too, but not enough. Sykora is been out of place as well. Scott Stevens, well, he is getting older, but it is a good thing that he will remain for 3 more seasons getting paid 7 million dollars a year, is it? The most important problem to fix right now is to give Brodeur a back up. Use Gomez if they must, because even if they make the playoffs, Brodeur will lose the playoffs himself from tiredness. There are goalies like Tugnutt, Weekes, Kidd, Essensa, and Hackett who are available. And, if GM Lou does not want to give up too much for a goalie, give Kirk MacLean a shot, or give Guy Hebert a shot (won against the Devils 4-3 making 41 saves). Take your chances on these goalies. They are available, and TB and the Panthers are willing to hear offers for Kidd and Weekes. A very poor first half from a team that was suppose to make a big come back after losing the Cup last season. The record is not bad obviously, it is 2 games above .500. But, for a team like the Devils, they cannot afford to have that kind of record. If they keep this team the way it is for the 2nd half of the season, then they don’t stand a chance to survive in the playoffs, especially with an exhausted Brodeur. Make the changes, 1st half is over, you have 46 more games left, and they do go by quickly.
New York Islanders
I hate to admit it, but yes, an A-. If they keep it up, they are the comeback team of the year. But, this is the 1st half, so let’s concentrate why they deserve that grade. First, finally Mad Mike makes his first good trades/acquisitions. Yashin was a good pick up, but he does not have a bright future with this team, Peca was the best pick up, and Osgood was a lucky steal off waivers. Second, they are finally competitive. Third, they are still a young team. Peca will lead this team and hopefully he will remain an Islander for life, he will be a great future captain. The coach is really good, Laviolette. I personally think that this season is the “learning” season. They should make the playoffs, but they don’t have much experience in their defense to go far. This team also needs a better back up goalie than Snow, because Snow is good for a couple of games, but if Osgood is out for 5 games, Islanders will not like it. They surprised everyone, including me. I totally underrated this team, but they proved me wrong. Great job after 7 years of absence.
New York Rangers
Real Grade: B+
Heheh, scared ya? Ok, the Rangers are also a surprising team in the 1st half of the season. Sather deserves a B+ for changing this team around in one and a half seasons. Johansson has surprised people, Samuelsson was a steal in return for the Graves trade, Malakhov is explaining why Sather signed him, Berard is improving slowly but still has a bright future (making trades more expandable), Barnaby made a difference on the Nedved line, and Lindros did make this team a whole lot better. Those are all the good positive things. The players themselves are playing like a real team. If you say the Blackhawks are playing like a real team, then so are the Rangers, their statistics are very similar. Defense is not a major problem, and it has not been in the past 10 games. If the defense was a problem, then you wouldn’t see 5 Rangers leading in the top 10 +/- ratings. The lame excuse is “Oh because they score so many goals”, my answer is “Oh but last season they score so many goals yet +/- rating was poor.” The problem with this team is their Special Teams. The PK has been improving (12 for 12 in the last two games), but the PP makes you want to hang yourself. They had a period of time where they slumped, and times where they dominated. The Rangers are still undefeated (7-0-1) when Lindros is out of the line-up. No reason to say “They might as well play without him”, only a stupid comment, but a smart comment would be “Gee, the Rangers are playing pretty well this season, even without a complete FLY Line.” They deserve to have a B+ just as the Hawks deserve to have it too. They changed the roster, made good additions, and obviously bad additions (What happened to Ciger anyway? What a steal to get Barnaby). There still needs to be improvement done on this team, especially the PP. I don’t think the Rangers need a power forward either, but they can always hunt for Tkachuk in the off-season.
I thought this team would play a defensive style since losing Yashin, but they are ranked 2nd in the league in GF (123), tied for 1st to be exact, and allowed 92 GA (ranked 9th). Although they had their cold streaks, their record still looks good, especially since Yashin is not there. They are a team with young players like Havlat, Fischer, Todd White, and Hossa will be their future star. They have a great goalie tandem. This team might need a better center, since they lack depth on that position, but as of now they are doing really well, very unexpected. A B+ for great offensive work, great defensive work, and no stepping down missing Yashin.
A very rough start, but they bounced back like a real true team that wants the Cup, badly. Although there needs some improvement done with some players, they are starting to score goals. They are tied 1st, allowing only 81 GA. They also have a great goalie tandem, but Chechmanek has been a little bit streaky. They must get better on their home record (9-6-2-1). Clarke made a smart move in getting Brashear. You always want to look at the bright sides of a trade. It is quite foolish to judge a trade without thinking about it. This deal reminds me of Sather’s “Ciger for Barnaby” trade. Where is Ciger? What is he doing? Nothing, and Barnaby? Changed the Nedved line and all the sudden Nedved is starting to score. Same with Brashear, all the sudden players are starting to score. But, the only negative about it is that Clarke should have kept Hlavac for a better deal. In the long run, I don’t think Brashear will help the Flyers as much as Hlavac would in the next 5 seasons, but Clarke knows what he is doing. If the Flyers keep it up, then they will make the finals. An A- for coming together and for making a small quick change in the locker room, which did make a difference.
Who expected this team to be two games over .500? In fact, the only main problem with this team is their away record (4-11-4-1). The ‘Yotes are actually playing really well, even if they are not scoring that many goals (95). It is awkward when comparing this team with the Stars, Devils, or Washington. They are actually playing just as good or better than those teams. This team has no one special players, but they are playing like a team, knowing that the club lost top NHL players Roenick and Tkachuk. I doubt they will make the playoffs, but you never know. If they can keep up at this pace, they might get lucky enough to make the playoffs.
This team is going nowhere. Will it make a difference when Lemieux is back? Not a big difference but hopefully they will win some games. This is a good lesson to learn for GM Patrick, the Jagr deal was pathetic! Three prospects, who I think are not NHL ready, for a 100+ point scorer? GM Patrick should have gotten NHL ready players for Jagr, not a bunch of prospects. How would this team have looked with a Kim Johnsson, and a Jan Hlavac? They wouldn’t have that kind of record. The Penguins are ranked 27th in GF, which is a big decrease from last season. The defense is not as solid, allowing 108 GA. The goaltending is good, but inconsistent and with the lack of defense, Hedberg cannot do much to carry this team anywhere. Where is Kovalev? Typical player who gets 2 hat tricks in two straight games and then scores 3 goals in the next 10 games. Lang is not capable of carrying the team, and Kaspiritis cannot carry the defense. Poor job done by GM Patrick. In this case, Lemieux is the team’s last hope, since Straka will make a come back almost by season’s end. There is not much this team can do but only to trade Kaspiritis or Lang for some real good NHL ready players, they are only 4 points behind the Devils, this team must compete with the Devils if they want to improve.
San Jose Sharks
They are on a 5 winless game slump, but they still remain as a top team. More scoring is expected out of Selanne and Nolan, but don’t expect much from a 30 year old power forward, he is hitting the slumping years of a typical power forward. Nolan, however, is leading the team in points, only 28. A true 30-goal scorer is needed on this team, and Selanne will never get 30 goals unless he gets a hot 2nd half. Does this call for a trade? Well, they are made to be a playoff team, like last season’s Toronto Maple Leafs. Graves, Nolan, Damphousse, Ricci, and Matteau are all playoff players. The Sharks can finish 8th in regular season, but they are capable of playing in the Western Conference Finals. They are the old Flyers, in the Western Conference. They hit, they have a powerful fore-check, and can dominate a game by using their physical strength. They are built well, but they do lack a true goal scorer, a good idea would be to swap Selanne with another goal scorer, who can adapt with their style of play.
St. Louis Blues
They are very similar to the Shark, statistically speaking, but they should be competing with the Avalanche and the Red Wings, and should be scoring more goals. They are only 16th in the league in GF. With players like Tkachuk, Demitra, Weight, MacInnis, Pronger, and Young, they should be top 5 in the league in GF. The Blues don’t belong to be in a situation where Pronger is slumping and goal scoring is a problem, so because of that they deserve a B. The record is good, I still think it should be much better, but like the Devils, this team is should be doing a whole lot better. They don’t have much left to trade for someone else, but goaltending is an issue, it will be an issue in the playoffs. As of now, this team needs an extra player on the blue line that will affect Pronger’s slump, and get him out of it. The Blues need a good winning streak, like 8-1-1 in a span of 10 games. They are suppose to be competing with the Red Wings, not the Sharks.
Think about it, they could be a whole lot better if Lecavalier would score more goals. Goal scoring is the main reason why this team is two games under .500. But, that is great for the Bolts. The Bolts are actually competing. Khabibulin is playing like a top 5 goalie in the league, I actually think he is. The defense only allowed 82 GA, but the Lightning are 29th in GF, with just 77. Modin is starting to find his game, and has been scoring lately. This team made a huge change on their roster. Acquiring role players like Taylor and Andreychuk. Prospal has helped this team as well, and Martin St. Louis is using his amazing speed to score the important goals. This team needs to find a true no.1 center though. Once they get a top center, then they will become very competitive, and will make the playoffs sooner than you think. The Lightning are tied with Pittsburgh in points (35) and are just 4 points behind the Devils and Canadiens. They have a bright future, but the whole Lecavalier story was just a distraction and a joke. GM Dudley should have handled it a bit better, in my opinion, but he should not give up on the kid, he is only 21 years old, and very talented, but not ready to be a no.1 center yet. Dudley should still be looking for a no.1 center, and this is a good time to look for one.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Déjà vu, this team is at the top of the league, like last season, but where will they finish? Hopefully not 7th again. Quinn is playing a weird style of hockey, but it is working. The Leafs play a good fore-checking game, and with the scoring weapons like Sundin and Mogilny, they are able to win games. But, the Leafs cannot afford to lose to teams like the Panthers, Hurricanes, and Thrashers. Those are the teams you must win against, at least against the Thrashers and Panthers. Those are 4 easy points to win. But, this is an excellent built playoff team, as it was last season. I actually believe the Leafs can arrive in the Stanley Cup Finals. These players: Tucker, Renberg, Sundin, Corson, Roberts, and Domi are all great to have in the playoffs. My question to the Leafs fans is: “Why do you guys want to dump Hoglund?” Never give up on Swedish players because of this: g-7 a-16 p-23 pim-14 +18. Swedish players are the best 3rd line players to find who can always play like 2nd line players. Hoglund leads the team in +/- with a +18. Do not give up on this player, he is not that young, but he could become a great playoff player. Quinn did a great job for this season to coach this team and to manage it.
The only reason why this team gets a C- is because of the great changes GM Burke has done in December. Losing Brashear was no big deal, it is not hard to find a younger goon than Brashear. Now, the Canucks have a great 1st line with Hlavac-Cassels-Naslund (I must insist that a Hlavac-Gagne-Recchi line would be as good as this one, even better), and should slowly improve their scoring. The Canucks had a really bad start of the season, and being 5 games under .500 is not a good sign for a team that made a great effort to earn the 8th seed in the playoffs. Extremely bad start, but GM Burke made the quick changes that were needed for a stronger 2nd half of the season.
The record is unacceptable. The way they are playing is unacceptable. This is the same team of last season, but with a player who can score 100+ points, this team should be dominating. The team does need a true no.1 center for Jagr, but there are no excuses. They are ranked 29th in GA (122), and this team was known to be very strong in defense. Usually the Caps have a bad 1st half, but not acceptable when you have a player like Jagr. Has Jagr been a positive or negative addition? I don’t know, I think both. He is scoring points, but not “Jagr points”. Khristich is the team leader with a +7 rating. It would be pathetic for this team to not be first in their division, but what is more pathetic is that they are two games under .500.
Thank you for reading. Happy New Year! Eat, Drink, Laugh, Burp, and Party All Night! And, a very Happy New Year for Hockey Trade Rumors.