7 NHL Teams That Must Make a Deal Before the Trade Deadline

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2013

7 NHL Teams That Must Make a Deal Before the Trade Deadline

0 of 7

    This is not the year to sit around and wait to see how a team's chemistry develops.

    A 48-game season means there is little margin for error. If a team doesn't get out of the gate quickly, it can find itself in a deep hole.

    That's why all personnel moves have to be considered. In some cases, a minor league call-up or two might do.

    But in other cases, teams have specific weaknesses that must be addressed through trades.

    Here's a look at seven teams that must make a deal before the trade deadline.

Carolina Hurricanes

1 of 7

    The Carolina Hurricanes have missed the playoffs for three straight seasons.

    The Hurricanes thought they took a major step forward when they acquired Jordan Staal from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the offseason to team with brother and captain Eric Staal, but the magic has not been apparent in the early going.

    As the January page got pulled from the calendar, the Hurricanes had won just two of their first five games. They had scored 14 goals and given up 18.

    Certainly, there's time for head coach Kirk Muller to make up for the ordinary start, but something appears to be missing. Perhaps some additional goal scoring would make the Canes a bit more dangerous.

    They are a fast-skating, hustling team that plays for 60 minutes. However, they don't seem to have enough firepower to scare opponents, and general manager Jim Rutherford has to look for a bit more scoring to give this team a better chance to compete.

Edmonton Oilers

2 of 7

    The Edmonton Oilers are going to get there.

    There's no doubt about that.

    The only question is whether it will be sooner or later. This is a team of young stars who are capable of spectacular moments.

    You want proof? Just look at Nail Yakupov (video above), who has already scored two spectacular overtime goals in the first few weeks of the season.

    Yakupov, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have overwhelming talent, and rookie defenseman Justin Schultz is a future star as well.

    However, if the Oilers want to assert themselves this year, they need additional veteran presence. An older player who can lead the young stars and show them how to grind out wins.

    That's what general manager Steve Tambellini must do if he wants to give head coach Ralph Krueger a legitimate chance to make noise with this team in 2013.

Philadelphia Flyers

3 of 7

    Can the Flyers stop anybody?

    They better figure out a way to keep the puck out of the net or they are going to have a wasted season.

    General manager Paul Holmgren has to know his team is in trouble. The Flyers are just 2-5-0 in their first seven games and they have given up 20 goals.

    They simply don't have enough solid defensive players to keep opponents from getting comfortable in the Philadelphia zone. Aside from Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn and Luke Schenn, the Flyers' defensive crew simply is not adequate and they must address this or their season will go down in flames.

Nashville Predators

4 of 7

    The Nashville Predators have made the playoffs in six of the last seven seasons. Under head coach Barry Trotz, the Preds have gained a reputation as a team that plays hard for 60 minutes and gets every bit of talent out of a less-than-stellar crew.

    The Preds figured to have problems this year after defenseman Ryan Suter signed with the Minnesota Wild in the offseason.

    But the problems the Preds have had are not on the defensive end. They can't put the puck in the net. They have scored a league-low 12 goals (tied with the Los Angeles Kings) in seven games.

    If Nashville is going to make the playoffs again this year, general manager David Poile needs to trade for a forward or two who can put the puck in the net.

Washington Capitals

5 of 7

    June 26, 2012.

    Adam Oates had one of the greatest sports days imaginable last summer when he learned he made the Hockey Hall of Fame on the same day the Washington Capitals hired him to become their head coach.

    It may have felt glorious at the time, but the first couple of weeks of Oates' coaching tenure have not gone well. The Caps have won only one of their first seven games and find themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

    This is a team that has struggled to find its identity in recent years. After falling short of expectations when the Caps depended on Alex Ovechkin to ignite the offense, the Caps tried to become a defensive team.

    That move ended up costing Bruce Boudreau his job. Dale Hunter took over and seemed to get the Caps on track, but he did not want to keep the job.

    Oates is starting to see that the Caps are a mess. They need to go out and acquire a player with great leadership skills who can help Oates get the most out of every player—including Ovechkin.

Dallas Stars

6 of 7

    It doesn't appear to be working for the Dallas Stars.

    After missing the playoffs in each of the last four years, they signed big-name (and ancient) free agents Jaromir Jagr and Ray Whitney. Both players are 40 years old.

    The idea was that the two golden oldies would put the puck in the net and provide leadership. The plan may have looked good on paper, but it hasn't been a grand success on the ice. The Stars have won just two of their first seven games and they have only scored 13 goals.

    If general manager Joe Nieuwendyk doesn't bring in some youthful players who can put the puck in the net, the Stars will have nothing to do in the postseason but grab their golf clubs.

Florida Panthers

7 of 7

    The Florida Panthers were one of the biggest surprises in the NHL last year, winning the Southeast Division.

    While they lost their first-round playoff series to the eventual Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils, it appeared that general manager Dale Tallon had accumulated enough talent to keep this team competitive for several seasons.

    There's one big problem so far in the new season. The Panthers have lost five of their first seven games and they can't keep the puck out of the net. The dearth of scoring combined with a league-high 27 goals that they've surrendered is a recipe for disaster.

    The defense has not been good, but Jose Theodore is not helping in goal. He has a 2-4-0 record, a 3.39 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage.

    That's not good enough. Tallon must get a credible goaltender to help the Panthers between the pipes.