One Roster Move Each NHL Team Must Make ASAP If There Is a Season
As soon as the NHL lockout ends, teams will likely have a small window of time to make the needed roster moves to prepare for the new year.
These moves could include anything from trades and free agent signings to bringing top prospects from the AHL, OHL and overseas to NHL rosters.
Let's look at one move each NHL team must make ASAP when the work stoppage is over.
Anaheim Ducks: Re-Sign Corey Perry
The Anaheim Ducks need to re-sign 2011 Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry as soon as possible following the lockout.
The star winger is capable of scoring 40 goals per season and has proven that he can play at a high level late in the season.
Perry's salary for the 2012-13 is $4.875 million (minus the paychecks missed due to the lockout), and it can be expected that he will receive well over $5 million in his next deal.
Boston Bruins: Bring Dougie Hamilton to NHL
Top Boston Bruins prospect Dougie Hamilton currently leads all OHL defensemen with 34 points (seven goals, 27 assists) in 27 games. He can be expected to make his NHL debut this season, and could even be paired with Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.
He is the Bruins' most talented prospect, so expect general manager Peter Chiarelli to bring the 6'5" defenseman to Boston soon after the lockout ends.
Buffalo Sabres: Add Another Physical Defenseman
The Buffalo Sabres could use another defenseman who can contribute to the team's penalty kill.
The Sabres added some more toughness to their forward group over the summer with the additions of Steve Ott and John Scott, but their blue line still lacks the necessary amount of physical players to compete with the Boston Bruins and other Northeast Division opponents.
Buffalo should sign or make a small trade for a veteran defenseman when the work stoppage is over.
Calgary Flames: Decide Jarome Iginla's Future
The Calgary Flames need to decide the future of captain Jarome Iginla, because it would be wise to avoid all the possible distractions surrounding him if he's not re-signed near the trade deadline.
For the Flames to have a successful season, they shouldn't be facing questions regarding the future of the team's most popular player.
General manager Jay Feaster should sit down with Iginla in the near future and determine if he will retire with the Flames or be traded.
Carolina Hurricanes: Add Another Defenseman
The Carolina Hurricanes should look for an inexpensive veteran defenseman to sign in free agency after the work stoppage.
Brett Clark, who played for the Tampa Bay Lightning last season, would be a solid addition to the Hurricanes' blue line with his toughness and durability.
Chicago Blackhawks: Re-Sign Andrew Brunette
With very little salary cap space, the Chicago Blackhawks should re-sign 39-year-old forward Andrew Brunette after the lockout.
He would give the Blackhawks some more depth in their bottom-six forward group and give the team some more veteran experience and toughness.
Colorado Avalanche: Re-Sign Ryan O'Reilly
One restricted free agent who surprisingly went into the lockout without a contract was Ryan O'Reilly.
The Colorado Avalanche forward not only led the team in scoring with 55 points last year, he also played incredible defense.
The 21-year-old should be re-signed immediately after the work stoppage because he is a very valuable part of the Avalanche roster.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Bring Top Prospect Ryan Murray to NHL
The Columbus Blue Jackets need to bring top prospect Ryan Murray to their NHL roster before the new season begins.
Murray was the team's first-round selection in the 2012 NHL draft (No. 2 overall), and will give the Blue Jackets another quality young player to market to fans in the Columbus area.
In 23 games for the Everett Silvertips of the WHL this season, Murray has scored two goals with 15 assists. He's ready for the NHL.
Dallas Stars: Re-Sign Jamie Benn
The Dallas Stars must make re-signing star forward Jamie Benn to a new long-term contract their top priority going into next season.
Benn has the talent needed to be one of the best forwards in the NHL, and has already established himself as an All-Star caliber player.
Detroit Red Wings: Add a Scoring Forward
The offseason losses of forward Jiri Hudler and defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Stuart have created a need for another scorer on the Detroit Red Wings' roster.
General manager Ken Holland signed veteran Mikael Samuelsson and Jordin Tootoo during the offseason, but neither player is likely to score over 40 points this year.
Adding some more scoring depth should be a priority for the Red Wings before the season starts.
Edmonton Oilers: Bring Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz to the NHL
Two young Edmonton Oilers players who will likely make their NHL debuts this season are defensemen Justin Schultz and Nail Yakupov.
Schultz is playing very well offensively in the AHL during the lockout for the Oklahoma City Barons and will provide some needed scoring to the Oilers blue line.
Yakupov will be facing high expectations as the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft and is currently playing in the KHL.
Expect Edmonton to bring both prospects to the NHL once the lockout ends.
Florida Panthers: Add Top Prospect Jonathan Huberdeau to NHL Roster
Florida Panthers fans are hoping that top forward prospect Jonathan Huberdeau can help make the franchise a playoff contender now and well into the future.
Huberdeau has enormous offensive potential and scored 13 goals with 23 assists in 26 games for the Saint John's SeaDogs of the QMJHL.
Expect the Panthers to bring Huberdeau to the NHL before the season starts.
Los Angeles Kings: Determine Future of Jonathan Bernier
The Los Angeles Kings should determine the future of young goaltender Jonathan Bernier before the season starts.
The Kings should capitalize on his trade value before the season instead of making him available at the trade deadline, because if they are unsuccessful in moving him, they will likely get worse value in return for him during the summer when he will be a restricted free agent.
Minnesota Wild: Bring Top Prospect Mikael Granlund to the NHL
Top Minnesota Wild prospect Mikael Granlund is currently playing for the team's AHL affiliate (Houston Aeros) during the lockout, and ranks third on the team in scoring with four goals and eight assists in eight games.
Expect the Wild to add Granlund to their roster for the season opener.
Montreal Canadiens: Re-Sign P.K. Subban
The Montreal Canadiens must re-sign defenseman P.K. Subban immediately after the lockout to make sure that the team's best defenseman and most important skater is signed long-term.
Subban could be the first major RFA to be signed once teams can negotiate with players again. The chances that he leaves Montreal in the near future are very slim.
Nashville Predators: Make a Trade for a Top-Six Forward
The Nashville Predators cannot rely on their young, inexperienced forwards to be reliable offensive players on a consistent basis this year.
General manager David Poile has to make a bold move for a top-line forward to give his team more scoring depth. If he doesn't, the Predators could easily miss the playoffs this season.
Adding another veteran defenseman in case one of the team's young blueliners struggles should also be a priority for Nashville.
New Jersey Devils: Re-Sign Petr Sykora
Even though he's now 36 years old, New Jersey Devils winger Petr Sykora can still be a productive offensive player.
The veteran winger scored 21 goals with 23 assists last season and was able to play in all 82 games.
He is currently an unrestricted free agent, and the Devils would be wise to re-sign him to ensure the team doesn't lose anymore offensive depth.
New York Islanders: Acquire a Top-Four Defenseman
Acquiring a top-four defenseman remains a priority for the New York Islanders' general manager, Garth Snow.
Veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is capable of playing at a high level in net, but he needs some better defensemen in front of him for the Islanders to win games consistently.
The Islanders could also look for another top-six forward to replace P.A. Parenteau, but defensive upgrades must be made first.
New York Rangers: Re-Sign Michael Del Zotto
Michael Del Zotto is an important part of the New York Rangers blue line, especially from an offensive standpoint. He must be re-signed once the lockout ends.
Del Zotto is a key part of the Rangers' future and a young player the team should make a strong effort to re-sign.
His defense isn't spectacular, but he's still a young player who will get better in his own zone as he earns more experience.
Ottawa Senators: Decide Who the Backup Goalie Will Be
The Ottawa Senators will likely have Ben Bishop backing up starting goaltender Craig Anderson this season, but top prospect Robin Lehner is playing well in the AHL right now and could also challenge for the backup job.
Lehner is currently 8-2-1 this season for the Binghamton Senators with a .950 save percentage. Bishop does have more NHL experience and was acquired for a second round pick last season before the trade deadline.
He will likely begin the year as the backup, but the decision will not be an easy one for the Senators.
Philadelphia Flyers: Add More Defensive Depth
Depending on when the lockout ends, some injured Philadelphia Flyers defensemen such as Andrej Meszaros could be close to returning to the ice, but even if all of the team's defensemen were healthy, general manager Paul Holmgren would still need to add a top-four blueliner.
Defense prospect Brandon Manning could be someone who Holmgren thinks about adding to the NHL roster for the season opener. He is currently playing for the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL.
Phoenix Coyotes: Re-Sign Daymond Langkow
Since the Phoenix Coyotes have very little money to spend in the free agent market, they should focus on re-signing veteran forward Daymond Langkow to a one- or two-year deal before the new season.
The 36-year-old center scored 11 goals with 19 assists last season and adds depth and experience to the Coyotes' forward group.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Add Prospect Simon Despres to NHL Roster
Simon Despres is ready for the NHL on a full-time basis and should be added to the Pittsburgh Penguins roster as soon as the work stoppage is finally over.
Despres is playing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL during the lockout,and has scored two goals with five assists in 18 games.
San Jose Sharks: Sign Jason Arnott
Since the San Jose Sharks don't have much salary cap space, signing a veteran like Jason Arnott would be a smart move by general manager Doug Wilson.
Arnott's championship experience wold be a valuable addition to the Sharks, who should add another forward with toughness and truculence before the season starts.
St. Louis Blues: Add a Veteran with Championship Experience
Despite having one of the lowest payrolls in the NHL, the St. Louis Blues are one of the best teams in the league.
Not having an elite scorer is certainly an issue for the Blues, but it's tough to imagine St. Louis being able to pull off a major trade for a top-line forward before the season starts unless they part with one of their top prospects.
For now, adding a veteran with championship experience should be a goal for the Blues after the lockout.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Bring Vladislav Namestnikov to the NHL
The Tampa Bay Lightning need to develop some more young talent at the NHL level to compete in the stronger Southeast Division, which means Vladislav Namestnikov should be added to the roster when possible.
He is currently playing for the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL, and is arguably the Lightning's top prospect. Namestnikov has the ability to be a top-six center in the near future.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Trade for Roberto Luongo
The Toronto Maple Leafs could make the first major trade following the lockout if they trade for Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo.
Leafs fans are desperate for a playoff-caliber team to cheer for, and general manager Brian Burke must do something to give his team a better chance to earn a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
His best bet is to acquire Luongo and improve the weakness that has hurt his team quite a bit over the last two seasons.
Vancouver Canucks: Start Cory Schneider, Trade Roberto Luongo
Entering the season with the Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo goaltending tandem would create too many distractions for the Vancouver Canucks, which is why Luongo must be dealt as soon as possible.
The last thing that the Canucks need is more distractions involving Luongo.
If Luongo is traded after the lockout, expect Chicago Wolves goalie and top goaltending prospect Eddie Lack to make his NHL debut this season as a backup to Schneider.
Washington Capitals: Add a Veteran Defenseman
The Washington Capitals should consider adding another veteran defenseman who can help the team's penalty killing unit and bring Stanley Cup-winning experience to the roster.
The Capitals have a few talented young blueliners in Mike Green and John Carlson, but lack a physical veteran who will block a lot of shots and defend well consistently.
Winnipeg Jets: Bring Mark Scheifele to NHL
The time is now for top forward prospect Mark Scheifele to become an important part of the Winnipeg Jets' success in the present and future.
The 19-year-old center is currently dominating offensively for the Barrie Colts of the OHL with 20 goals and 23 assists in 25 games.
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