1 Christmas Gift for Every NHL Team

Sara CivianDecember 21, 2022

1 Christmas Gift for Every NHL Team

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    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 17:  Gritty the mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers dressed as Santa Clause with the Holiday Body Guards pose for a photo during an NHL game against the New York Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center on December 17, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

    The holiday season is in full swing, and so is the NHL season. Sources are telling me Santa has already started making his rounds in the league, so I thought I'd make his job a little easier and propose one gift for every NHL team.

Atlantic Division

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    OTTAWA, CANADA - NOVEMBER 08: Actor and owner of Wrexham Ryan Reynolds waves to the crowd during the first period of an NHL game between the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on November 08, 2022 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
    Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

    Boston Bruins: A Blank Check

    This is a season to remember for the Bruins with a historic start, an almost perfect home record, a favorite captain returning and joining the 1000-point club, a Winter Classic at Fenway…should I go on?

    I almost want to give them a camera and tell them to enjoy making memories. But star winger David Pastrnak is a pending free agent, and he's playing like the cap ceiling doesn't exist. The only thing that could make Boston's current run better is a pasta-shaped blank check.

    Toronto Maple Leafs: A Mitch Marner Playoff Point Streak

    I could not have been more here for Marner breaking the Leafs' franchise record with his 23-game regular-season point streak. He's such a misplaced scapegoat for a franchise just begging for a simple explanation that doesn't exist.

    I loved this for him, but we all know nothing will release him from the scapegoat stereotype like a point streak encore that extends to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Tampa Bay Lightning: Good Karma

    Pat Maroon's response to body shaming was one of the best feel-good moments from the beginning of the season. The good vibes continue in Tampa on and off the ice.

    Buffalo Sabres: A Crystal Ball

    I think we're all in a toxic relationship with the Buffalo Sabres at this point. What are we? Where is this going? Will you please just live up to your potential? I'm sick of wondering how this will play out year after year. A crystal ball letting me know if I will be able to enjoy playoff Tage Thompson or not would really clear things up.

    Florida Panthers: A Positive Goal Differential

    It has been one step forward, one step back in an absolutely wacky season for the Panthers. They are losing by a lot and also winning by a lot, and as of Tuesday, their goal differential of literally zero tells an accurate story. If only they could find a way to stop losing by five goals every other day.

    Detroit Red Wings: More Out of Moritz Seider

    I had very high hopes for the 2022 Calder Trophy winner heading into this season, including a potential Norris Trophy. There's still time, but Seider hasn't had the encore sophomore season I imagined at all. He's got two goals, 12 points and a minus-16 in 31 games and only has one point and four shots throughout Detroit's six-game losing streak.

    The sophomore slump happens to so many players that end up having amazing careers, so I'm not worried about Seider's long-term success, but the sooner he figures it out, the better for a team that could still make the playoffs.

    Montréal Canadiens: Coal

    Coal…Caufield am I right, fellas? Everyone's favorite Hab, Cole Caufield, is up for an extension.

    Ottawa Senators: A Proposal

    More like The Proposal (2009). Ryan Reynolds should buy this team for Christmas!

Metropolitan Division

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    NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 17: Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils looks on during the second period against the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center on December 17, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
    Sarah Stier/Getty Images

    Carolina Hurricanes: A Home-Cooked Meal

    Nineteen of Carolina's first 28 games of the season were on the road. According to Hurricanes PR extraordinaire Mike Sundheim, 50 of the first 64 days of the season involved travel, and 27 came outside of the Eastern time zone.

    Obviously, all teams travel, but this schedule is tougher than most, and it helps explain their up-and-down start to the season. Now the Canes have moved past it, and they're on fire at 20-6-6 with points in 12 straight games. They've earned a nice little Christmas break in Raleighwood.

    New Jersey Devils: A Reality Check

    The Devils are in a bit of a slump right now, but we've all seen how good they can be. Maybe they just need, like, one really mean locker room speech to snap out of it.

    Pittsburgh Penguins: One More Run

    Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang have had a legendary run together spanning almost two decades. Who says they don't have at least one more playoff run left in them?

    New York Rangers: A True Breakout from Alexis Lafreniére

    People are generally way too hard on younger players, but I think it's about time Lafreniére gets cooking. The 2020 first-overall pick has been gradually improving since he entered the league, and there are so many promising shifts in his Rangers highlight reel that just haven't connected all the way yet.

    How great would it be for the Rangers if it all came together during the second half of this season?

    New York Islanders: Whatever Lane Lambert Wants

    Gotta give credit to GM Lou Lamoriello for changing essentially nothing except the head coach on the Island. The Islanders have been inconsistent lately, but even then, they're doing better than many of us thought they would have this season. I really like first-year head coach Lambert.

    Washington Capitals: The Great Eight-Zero-One

    One more goal, and Alex Ovechkin will tie Gordie Howe for the second-most goals in NHL history. Easiest gift ever.

    Philadelphia Flyers: Thoughts and Prayers

    It's all fun and games until Torts benches your leading goal scorer. Godspeed, Gritty.

    Columbus Blue Jackets: A Fast-Forward Button

    Where a team like the Flames could use a pause to regroup and get back on the playoff track, it's "better luck next season" for the Blue Jackets. It's not like there was immense pressure on this team to make the playoffs this year, but the acquisition of Johnny Gaudreau may have accelerated expectations.

    Between critical injuries and some underperformances, though, Columbus is better off getting a high draft pick and trying again next year at this point.

Central Division

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    COLUMBUS, OHIO - DECEMBER 19: Jason Robertson #21 of the Dallas Stars celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the third period of a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena on December 19, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Ben Jackson/NHLI via Getty Images

    Dallas Stars: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

    The Dallas Stars have had a commanding start to the season and an even better first line featuring budding star Jason Robertson. They're currently 19-8-6 and first in the Central. It's time to start paying attention to them if you're late to the party.

    Winnipeg Jets: The Return of Nikolaj Ehlers

    Unfortunately, Blake Wheeler will be out for a while for the surging Jets, but at least one of their best forwards—if not the best—Ehlers, has started skating again. Maybe he'll be back soon, and this special Jets season will continue.

    Minnesota Wild: Everything They Want

    The Wild are in the holiday spirit this season, with Ryan Reaves and Kirill Kaprizov leading the way. They deserve some wholesome fun right back!

    Colorado Avalanche: A Healing Elixir

    Valeri Nichushkin and Evan Rodrigues are finally back, but there are no doubt injuries have taken a toll on the defending Cup champions this season. With two essential leaders in Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog still out, it could be a while until this team fully returns to form.

    St. Louis Blues: A SZA appearance

    St. Louis-born SZA just released her latest album, SOS. It's amazing, of course, and the cover art features a Princess Diana-inspired SZA in a Blues jersey.

    Pop Base @PopBase

    SZA confirms theory that Princess Diana inspired her 'SOS' album cover. <a href="https://t.co/61biLn7JXm">pic.twitter.com/61biLn7JXm</a>

    The Blues did absolutely nothing to deserve this greatness, but they better appreciate it. Invite her to a game. Actually, invite her to every game.

    Nashville Predators: Some Goals

    Nino Niederreiter is currently leading the Predators with 10 goals. That's great for Niederreiter and really bad for the Preds!

    Arizona Coyotes: Ask That One Uncle

    You know the one. He shows up to Christmas festivities on his motorcycle, he falls asleep on the couch two hours in, and he may or may not have a mullet. This is how I now picture the Coyotes arriving to the NHL team Christmas party, and I just know your favorite uncle has the perfect gift for the Mullett Arena faithful.

    Chicago Blackhawks: All The Draft Picks

    After a suspiciously good start to the season, all is now right in the world, and we can officially declare that the 7-19-4 Blackhawks are as bad as they set out to be. Looks like some of their big names might actually be on the move at the deadline, and there could be some enticing picks packaged back.

Pacific Division

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    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 19: Logan Thompson #36 of the Vegas Golden Knights warms up prior to a game against the Buffalo Sabres at T-Mobile Arena on December 19, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Zak Krill/NHLI via Getty Images)
    Zak Krill/NHLI via Getty Images

    Vegas Golden Knights: A Calder Trophy

    After this recent stretch, it feels like Seattle's Matty Beniers is running away with the Calder Trophy. But the season is still young, and if Golden Knights rookie goalie Logan Thompson ends up winning the trophy, it likely means three things:

    1. He finished off just as strong as he started.
    2. The Golden Knights did, too.
    3. Thompson could have a long, successful future in net that many didn't see coming.

    Los Angeles Kings: Nothing

    The Kings are currently second in the Pacific with a 18-12-5 record. I think we've given them enough.

    Seattle Kraken: A Playoff Berth

    Folks, the baby of the NHL is legit this year. I'd love to see how Beniers and the kids perform in the playoffs, and there's a good chance it'll happen. Care to weigh in, Santa?

    Edmonton Oilers: Some Fresh Voices

    I say this as kindly as possible: It's time for a few new voices in this front office. It's been time.

    Calgary Flames: A Pause Button

    Goalie Jacob Markström has been struggling this season, but he's incredibly self-aware about it. I just get the feeling that if the Flames could pause the season for a few weeks and let Markström work through confidence issues, everything would be fine.

    Unfortunately, Santa can't defy the laws of physics, and Markström will have to work through it in real time if the Flames are to return to the postseason.

    Vancouver Canucks: Commitment

    Make all the trades or don't, but please just cohesively decide on a plan and stick to it. We're begging you at this point.

    San Jose Sharks: An Adequate Return for Erik Karlsson

    A 32-year-old Karlsson is having one of his best seasons in recent memory. The San Jose Sharks are not. Maybe they can trade him to a contender, get a solid rebuilding return, and it will be a happy Christmas miracle.

    Anaheim Ducks: A Glass Slipper

    The Ducks have just three regulation wins on the season. Unlike Cinderella, they thrive when the clock runs out and struggle before then, but maybe her glass slipper could help them create the reverse effect. Either way, this season has not been a fairytale in Anaheim.