Not a single NHL team that finished first in its division last season entered Sunday night’s action at the top of its five-team circuit. The closest party in that respect was Vancouver, which went into a tilt with Colorado virtually tied with Minnesota for tops in the Northwest, though the Wild have two games in hand as of Monday.
That is the dominant motif in a slew of teams who have sculpted a recent foundation for success and/or believable expectations for success in 2012-13, but so far have not followed through to the best degree.
Some teams are already at a point where duplicating last year’s regular-season feats are out of the question. Nonetheless, they, among others, can catch a second wind in the second season with a few simple tweaks—or maybe even just one.
Next Wednesday’s trading deadline will be the last call for those who could stand to shore up for the homestretch and playoffs by way of an external acquisition.
Here are five teams who can set a timely tone by importing and gelling in one missing puzzle piece on their depth chart.
Unless otherwise indicated, all stats and information for this slideshow were found via NHL.com