Every NHL Team's Biggest Flaw

Tom Urtz Jr.@@TomUrtzJrContributor IOctober 4, 2012

Every NHL Team's Biggest Flaw

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    There are no perfect teams in the NHL, and there are always areas where a team can improve. These flaws help define a team, because teams that usually have a flaw make up for that shortcoming in another area.

    If a team has shaky goaltending, they usually have a high octane offense. If a team has an anemic offense, they usually have a great defense and goaltending tandem.

    Nonetheless, every team in the NHL has at least one shortcoming, so here are each NHL team's biggest flaw.

Anaheim Ducks: Lack of Scoring Depth

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    Outside of the Anaheim Ducks' top performers in Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan, there is a big gap in talent and production.

    The depth of scoring is subpar because the team currently relies on players like Andrew Coligliano and Saku Koivu for secondary production.

    However, the Ducks have not been so absent minded, because they have some promising projects in the pipeline.

    The Ducks have prospects like Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri who could provide some offensive support whenever they make the jump full time, but there is no guarantee that these prospects will have the same success at the NHL level.

Boston Bruins: Backup Goaltender

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    Part of the reason the Boston Bruins have been so successful the past few years is their successful goaltending tandem.

    Tuukka Rask is going to be the Bruins' starting netminder, but the team does not have an established or experienced backup. This is a flaw for the Bruins because in the event Rask struggles, they don't have Tim Thomas as a safety net to fall back on.

Buffalo Sabres: Lack of No.1 Center

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    Cody Hodgson, Steve Ott, Luke Adam and Tyler Ennis currently make up the Buffalo Sabres' center depth. There is no true No. 1 center in that group, although Cody Hodgson has potential.

    There was a major reason that the Sabres drafted Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgenson in the first round of the NHL Draft, because they realized their hole and they hope that these players can develop into No.1 and No.2 centerman.

    Hodgson at this stage would probably be a great No.2 center, but putting too much pressure on him this early in his career may not be the best move for his development.

Calgary Flames: Defense

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    The Calgary Flames' biggest weakness is their defense

    They added Dennis Wideman over the summer to help add some offense on the blue line but Jay Bouwemeester, Mark Giordano, Cory Sarich and Chris Butler aren't exactly the greatest all-around defenders in the league.

    The loss of shutdown defender Scott Hannan definitely weakend the Flames' defense.

Carolina Hurricanes: Backup Goaltender

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    The Carolina Hurricanes have a solid group of young forwards and defenseman in the mix. They have a blend of veterans as well and an all-star goaltender in Cam Ward.

    One area they could address is the backup goaltender position, considering that Brian Boucher is injury prone and no longer a youngster.

    The Hurricanes do have Justin Peters within the organization, but for the time being Carolina would be better served by having a veteran netminder behind Ward.

    With Carolina slated to be a contender, having a reliable and proven backup would really put the team in good shape.

Chicago Blackhawks: Reliable Goaltending

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    Corey Crawford posted a 30-17-7 record in 2011-12 with a paltry 2.72 GAA during the regular season.

    Crawford's playoff numbers weren't any better, and it is fair to say that he was the reason the Blackhawks were a first round dropout.

    Crawford posted a record of 2-4-3 with a 2.58 GAA and a .893 SV%.

    It is safe to say that the team doesn't have the utmost confidence in the young netminder after they considered replacing him with this summer. This could be a make-or-break year for Crawford, because the Hawks have too much talent to be an inept playoff team.

Colorado Avalanche: Defense

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    The Colorado Avalanche have a group of defenseman signed for the next few seasons, but they lack that legitimate No. 1 defender. Adding a key defender to build around is the next logical step for Colorado to take their franchise rebuild to the next level.

    If the Avs could add one or two quality shutdown defenders, they could bolster their blueline and overall defensive depth.

    Erik Johnson was a No.1 overall selection in the NHL Draft, so there is still time for him to live up to his hype in Colorado.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Goaltending

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    If the Columbus  Blue Jackets want to become a serious team, they need some stability in net. They added Sergei Bobrovsky before the draft to come in as a potential starter, but he is still young and he may not be the answer.

    Steve Mason hasn't worked in Columbus over the past few seasons so there is much to look forward to on that end.

    The Blue Jackets may have drafted Ryan Murray to be a future anchor of their blueline, and added Tim Erixon in the Rick Nash trade, but that still doesn't solve their goaltending problems.

Dallas Stars: Defense

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    They Dallas Stars did an exemplary job upgrading their forward core, but they didn't address their defense in a positve way. 

    The Stars' defensive depth takes a huge spike after Alex Gologoski and Stephane Robidas.

    The team may have top prospect Jamie Oleksiak in the pipeline, but the team needs to add a combination of youngsters and veterans so the defense can grow and mature over time.

Detroit Red Wings: Defense

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    The Detroit Red Wings have been a very successful playoff team for the past two decades but they could run into problems this season after failing to address two key losses on their blue line.

    The Red Wings didn't make major additions this summer to compensate for their major subtractions of Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart.

    If the Wings' defense lets them down this season, they will struggle and will have a tough time competing in an improved Western Conference.

Edmonton Oilers: Goaltending Competition

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    The Edmonton Oilers are a franchise that is on the rise when you factor in all the talented youngsters they have stockpiled. Their defense will improve with the addition of a healthy Ryan Whitney and Justin Schultz, but the lack of goaltending competition is their biggest flaw.

    Devan Dubnyk is a talented young netminder who has upside, but Nikolai Khabibulin's best days are behind him.

    Dubnyk has no competition, so there isn't any motivation there. Jonathan Quick was an afterthought on the Los Angeles Kings, but he ultimately won the starting job from Jonathan Bernier, a goaltender who was supposed to be the future of the Kings.

    If the Oilers added another young talented netminder to compete with Dubnyk, a true starting goaltender would emerge.

Florida Panthers: Top Goal Scorer

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    The Florida Panthers will be adding prospect playmaker Jonathan Huberdeau to their lineup whenever the lockout is over, but the team does not have a top goal scorer. Tomas Fleischmann had a nice bounce-back year from injury, and he scored 27 goals but the Panthers lake a legitimate sniper.

    It remains to be seen if Huberdeau makes wingers like Kris Versteeg or Fleischmann step up their games, but adding a top-threat scorer would really make the Panthers a dark horse contender in the Southeast Division.

Los Angeles Kings: No New Players

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    It is hard to find a flaw with the defending Stanley Cup Champions, but the 2012-13 Los Angeles Kings will be the same team as the 2011-12 Los Angeles Kings. That presents a problem because with no new player on the team, the hunger to win a first Stanley Cup will be absent.

    There are often signs of a Stanley Cup hangover for the reigning champions, because that killer instinct that is associated with pursuing a Cup is often dormant in the defending champs.

    This is not a major flaw because the Kings have a balance roster, but it is something to consider if the Kings show signs of hangover early.

Minnesota Wild: Defense

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    The Minnesota Wild added Ryan Suter this offseason to headline their defense, but that one acquisition doesn't exactly improve each defense pairing on the team.

    It seems that the team is hoping that defense prospect Jonas Brodin can make the jump to the NHL very soon to add some overall talent and depth.

    Adding a second top defender would allow the Wild to distribute talent throughout the lineup, because Suter can't carry the load alone.

Montreal Canadiens: Offense

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    The Montreal Canadiens were 19th in the NHL last season in goals per game and they really didn't address that facet this summer.

    The Canadiens appear to be hoping that Max Pacioretty, Erik Cole, David Desharnais and Tomas Plekanec have successful seasons in 2012-13. Adding another scorer would have been prudent for Marc Bergevin, because he is looking to take the team in a new direction.

    The Canadiens have potential offensive contributors in the system like Alex Galchenyuk and Louis Leblanc, but they won't help the Canadiens this season.

Nashville Predators: Offense

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    The Nashville Predators lost their former top prospect Alex Radulov this summer, and it was a shame because he appeared to have potential in his return with the club.

    The Predators have players like Mike Fisher, Marty Erat, Patric Hornqvist, Colin Wilson and Sergei Kostitsyn who have offensive potential, but last year it was only potential.

    Although 10 different players scored 10 goals or more last season, no one on the Preds' roster scored 30 goals or had 60 points.

    If the Predators don't add a top offensive threat between now and the eventual 2012-13 playoffs, they could be in a tight situation against better rounded teams.

New Jersey Devils: Team Depth

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    The New Jersey Devils biggest flaw is overall depth, because they lost players during the offseason, and they have failed to replace them to this point.

    The Devils lost one of their top scorers in Zach Parise, they Alexei Ponikarovsky and they have failed to resign Petr Sykora up to this point.

    These subtractions cut a hole in the team's overall depth, and it is dicey when you factor in that Travis Zajac, David Clarkson and Patrik Elias are all free agents after this season.

    The team still has Ilya Kovalchuk, Adam Henrique and they added youngster Bobby Butler, but the team is a lot thinner than it was during its playoff run.

New York Islanders: Goaltending

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    Al Montoya is no longer an Islander and Evgeni Nabokov is slated to be the starter. There were hopes that Montoya would live up to his first round draft potential, but that hasn't happened yet.

    Nabokov is a shell of the goaltender he was with the San Jose Sharks, and at this point Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson are not ready to be an NHL starter fulltime.

    The Islanders have prospects in the pipeline to help them offensively and defensively, but the team still needs a true No.1 netminder. 

New York Rangers: Third Defense Pairing

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    The New York Rangers have one of the best rosters on paper in the NHL, but they lack another big-minutes defender to shore up the third pairing.

    Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi will skate on the top pairing, Marc Staal and current RFA Michael Del Zotto will complete the second pairing, but Anton Stralman doesn't have a suitable or reliable defense partner.

    The third pairing was a huge weakness for the Rangers in the playoffs because it resulted in Stu Bickel playing under 10:00 minutes during a triple-overtime game against the Capitals, and Ryan McDonagh playing for about an hour.

Ottawa Senators: Defense

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    The Ottawa Senators have a defense group headlined by Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson, but the team could stand to add some depth to their defense. 

    The Sens did add top-six defender Marc Methot from Columbus during the offseason, and they have Chris Phillips, but that doesn't change the fact that Sergei Gonchar isn't getting younger.

    Finding a replacement for Gonchar who help solidify Ottawa's top-four for the foreseeable future.

Philadelphia Flyers: Defense

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    The Philadelphia Flyers defense in 2012-13 will look drastically different than the squad that took the ice in 2011-12.

    Here are some of the losses the Flyers have suffered so far.

    • Matt Carle: Signed with Tampa Bay Lightning 

    • Andrej Meszaros: Torn Achilles tendon

    • Andreas Lilja: Hip Injury

    • Chris Pronger: Post-concussion symptoms'

    • Kimmo Timonen: Back surgery to remove a fragmented disk.

    These losses could really hurt the Flyers because their defenders suffered injuries that can nag and be reinjured as the season goes on. 

    If you take the lockout into consideration, most of these players could be healed by the time league comes back, but that didn't stop Ed Snyder and Paul Holmgren from being bold this offseason.

    When you look at those bullet points, the Shea Weber offer sheet tactic really makes a lot of sense in hindsight.

Phoenix Coyotes: Scoring

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    The Phoenix Coyotes lost their top scorer in Ray Whitney this offseason. They did add veteran Steve Sullivan, and he should add some secondary scoring.

    Mikel Boedker, Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata should add secondary scoring as well, but Phoenix lacks a true offensive forward threat.

    The team's top prospects are also defenders, so Phoenix should consider adding some forwards in the near future.

    Adding a scoring forward is something the Coyotes need to do if they want to compete for a repeat division title in 2012-13, but the loss of Whitney will have a bigger impact on the offense than you might think.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Scoring Depth on the Wings

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins have solid center depth on their roster, but outside of James Neal, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis, the Penguins have little scoring depth on the wings.

    There is a big reason why Ray Shero pursued Zach Parise this summer, and that would have enabled Pittsburgh to spread offense throughout their entire lineup.

    Adding another scoring winger would really help put the Penguins over the top.

San Jose Sharks: Lack of Young Forwards

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    The San Jose Sharks had a strong interest in Rick Nash this summer, but they were unsuccessful in acquiring him. 

    That move suggest that the Sharks were attempting to add some younger scoring forwards.

    Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton are both getting older and the Sharks could use some top younf forwards to play with Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski for the next few years.

    San Jose's window to win a championship is slowly closing, but it could be extended with addition of some young and talented forwards.

St.Louis Blues: Top-Six Scoring Forwards

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    The St.Louis Blues have a some solid forwards in David Backes, TJ Oshie, Alex Steen and David Perron, but the squad lacks another top scoring forward to complete the top-six.

    The Blues also had no 30-goal scorers or 60-point players for the 2011-12 season.

    David Perron was recovering from a concussion last season, so there is a good chance he will have a productive 82 game season in 2012-13.

    It would also be fair to point out that St.Louis has prospects like Jayden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko, but they need a game-breaking top six forward to make an impact now.

    The Western Conference is full of teams with stacked top-six forward groups, so adding another top-six scoring forward is very important for the Blues.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Goaltending

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning made a lot of good moves this summer and Steve Yzerman should be commended. 

    Although Yzerman traded for Anders Lindback who will be the No.1 netminder this season. Lindback has never been a starter before so goaltending is the Lightning's biggest flaw.

    Tampa currently has goaltending prospects like Dustin Tokarski in the minors who could take over in the coming years, but they need a bonafide No.1 netminder now.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Goaltending

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    The Toronto Maple Leafs still do not have a true No.1 goaltender and James Reimer will start the season as the team's de facto starter.

    Reimer has a lot of potential and he could turn into the goaltender the team needs, but he still needs to prove he can be a No.1 starter.

    If the Maple Leafs could have landed Roberto Luongo, it would have been a move that would have addressed the team's biggest flaw.

Vancouver Canucks: Backup Goaltender

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    Cory Schneider won the starting job from Roberto Luongo during the playoffs, but the team has failed to deal Luongo up to this point.

    This presents a problem because the team wants to move forward with Schneider as the starter, but they will have no choice if he falters and Luongo is not traded. Dealing Luongo and adding a backup goaltender is something the Canucks need to do.

    The team's biggest flaw is the lack of a backup goaltender because they have two starting goaltenders, and that is a terrible dynamic to have.

Washington Capitals: Consistency

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    Consistency is the Washington Capitals biggest flaw. The team has not had consistent contributions from their top producers because of struggles and injuries.

    Alex Ovechkin has regressed offensively, Nicklas Backstrom has been injured, Mike Green has been injured and Alex Semin was struggling before he ultimately signed with Carolina.

    The addition of Mike Ribeiro should help, but overall consistency is something the team will have to work on in 2012-13. 

Winnipeg Jets: Defense

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    The Winnipeg Jets were 26th in the NHL when it came to goals allowed per game and that is a result of the team's weak defensive blue line.

    The Jets have a solid offensive punch from defenders like Tobias Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien but the team needs solid shutdown defenders to stop some of the bleeding.

    When the majority of your defenders are on the ice for more goals allowed than goals scored, there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

    When you also consider that Zach Bogosian could miss the beginning of the season, the Jets are really going to struggle defensively.