6 Flawed NHL Teams That Must Make a Trade Early in 2013
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Some teams have played two games, while others have played three, yet it seems obvious that there are several teams with flaws.
We are not going to condemn the New York Rangers or the Los Angeles Kings for their slow starts and start demanding changes simply because they were a combined 0-4 when they woke up on the morning of Jan. 23.
However, when we look around the league, there are several teams with significant flaws. In some cases, the problems are specific, and in others they are systemic.
In the latter cases, a trade could change team chemistry and give coaches a better chance to win.
In the former, a trade could transform a weakness into a strength.
Here's a look at six teams that need to make trades right away.
The Flames have a number of flaws which have been written and talked about since the end of last season.
General manager Jay Feaster will probably need to dismantle this team at some point during the season.
He did not do it in the offseason, because he is trying to win this year. If that is going to remain his objective, the Flames need to pick up their defensive play,.
Through their first two games, they have given up nine goals. A 4.50 goals against average is not going to win many games.
Obviously, the Flames are not going to continue at this level and will win their share of games, but the defense is not tough enough or strong enough to stop most NHL teams when they're playing their best.
The Flames need to make a trade and get some help on the defensive end.
The Edmonton Oilers have too much talent on the offensive side to let it go wasting this year.
They have young, explosive players like Taylor Hall, Nail Yakupov, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who are the envy of the sport.
The defense needs a lot of work, but Justin Schultz is a potential star.
However, the team's biggest flaw was exposed in the Oilers' second game of the season. The San Jose Sharks attacked the net in the Oilers' home opener and scored six first-period goals.
Let that sink in.
The Oilers defeated the Canucks in Vancouver in the opener and they came home with excellent vibes and high hopes. However, Devan Dubnyk gave up six goals in the first period and was replaced by Yann Danis after the first 20 minutes (source: NHL.com).
Dubnyk gave up a couple of bad goals, but the Sharks were allowed to skate with impunity in the Edmonton zone.
The Oilers need to consider trades for a disciplined and tough defenseman, as well as a goaltender who can handle a young team's defensive inefficiencies.
Detroit Red Wings
Nicklas Lidstrom retired at the end of last season, and Tomas Holmstrom called it a career a few days into the start of the season (source: Detroit Free Press).
The Detroit Red Wings clearly have taken a tumble down the ladder. Head coach Mike Babcock has acknowledged that by telling the Detroit Free Press that the Red Wings are a "team in flux."
The Red Wings were shut out in their season opener against the St. Louis Blues and then were held to one goal in their home-opener loss to the Dallas Stars.
In that game, the Wings didn't score until there were four seconds left in the game.
It seems like the Wings need to make a trade for a goalscorer, but a puck-carrying defenseman who could trigger the attack might also help the team keep its head above water.
They are not going to get over the retirement of Lidstrom quickly, but they have to make a trade to start the process of improving the roster.
The Predators nearly fell apart in the offseason.
After the stinging loss of Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild through free agency, they were nearly knocked out when Shea Weber signed an offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers.
If the Preds had not matched that offer, there would have been nothing that general manager David Poile could have done to save his team.
But the Preds retained Weber to anchor the defense and trigger the offense with his booming shot from the point.
However, the Preds don't have enough offense. They have scored eight goals in their first three games and that's just part of the indication that the Preds don't have enough offense.
The Preds' first victory of the season was a 2-1 win over the Wild. The game was the first of a seven-game road trip (source: Tennessean.com). It will be hard for them to survive if they don't pick up the goalscoring.
The Philadelphia Flyers have gotten off to a painfully slow 0-3 start.
Despite this poor beginning, we don't think the Flyers are a poor team.
They are loaded with talented offensive players like Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell (CBS Sports.com reports he is out indefinitely with a foot injury), Wayne Simmonds and Danny Briere who should be able to outscore a number of teams.
Their offense has generated only three goals in three games, but that should pick up as the games move along.
We're not as sure about the defense. This is not one of the team's strengths.
General manager Paul Holmgren knows that making a trade out of desperation is not usually the best idea.
However, if the Flyers could make a trade that would help them keep the puck out of the net—they have given up 11 goals in three games—they will have a much better chance to turn things around.
This should be the most obvious move among all NHL teams.
The Canucks made their intentions toward Roberto Luongo known shortly after the season ended.
They wanted to trade him and find out if Cory Schneider could handle the responsibility of being the team's top goaltender.
So far, Mike Gillis has not moved him.
That's creating atmospheric problems for Schneider. He was pulled from the team's season-opening loss and sat on the bench in the Canucks' second game.
If they aren't going to provide Schneider with a good working environment, they need to trade Schneider.