James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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New Year's resolutions for NHL

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Winter Classic is coming up this afternoon, which also means it’s time to say Happy New Year. Sure, the 2012 edition was forced to Jan. 2, but this is the first Daily Dose of the last year for humankind (source: Mayans) so I figure this is a good time to make up a “resolution” for every NHL team. In this case, I’ll target one player or area needed for improvement. On occasion, I'll also focus on pleasant surprises that will hopefully continue.


Anaheim Teemu Selanne’s New Year’s resolution should be to spread his focus to the rest of his team. Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan have scored at disappointing rates and have bad plus/minus ratings while Jonas Hiller has the numbers of a bad backup.


Boston - Tim Thomas/Tuukka Rask: Both goalies have been awesome from a bang for the buck standpoint, but some owners might be bitter that Thomas (24 GP) only has 11 more games played than Rask’s 13.


BuffaloRyan Miller: As bad as Ville Leino has been, Miller likely went a lot earlier in any draft and his numbers have been putrid. An improvement shouldn’t be a tough resolution to keep, but the question is: can he get a lot better?


Calgary – Olli Jokinen: Who would have thought that Jokinen (32) would have more points than Jarome Iginla (31)? If he can keep it up he should make a nice amount of money this summer.


CarolinaEric Staal: Cam Ward has been awful, too, but Staal’s -22 rating is horrendous and it took him 10 more games to get one more point than Jeff Skinner.


ChicagoCorey Crawford: The Blackhawks have produced bountiful rewards for fantasy owners, but their should-be franchise goalie has been a disappointment.


ColoradoJoe Sacco: The Avalanche head coach should look at the obvious numbers and let Jean-Sebastien Giguere be at least the temporary No.1 goalie.


ColumbusScott Arniel: He’s still the Blue Jackets coach, so he should act like a leader and actually make a choice between Steve Mason and Curtis Sanford once Sanford is healthy.


Dallas – Health: The Stars need a healthy Kari Lehtonen, Brenden Morrow and Alex Goligoski to stay in the playoff picture.

Detroit Jimmy Howard: It would be great if he keeps up his world-class work from the first half of the season.

Edmonton – Ryan Whitney: The offensive defenseman has been limited to just three points in 17 games because of injuries.

Florida Kris Versteeg: Can he keep up his point per game pace over the next half-or-so of 2011-12?

Los Angeles Simon Gagne: A .50 point per game average is acceptable – for a defenseman. Gagne needs to get over his concussion first, though.

MinnesotaDevin Setoguchi: Like Gagne, injuries can be partially to blame, but he still needs to produce more points.

Montreal Tomas Plekanec: So many Montreal players are doing poorly that we might as well focus on the team’s most productive producer.

NashvilleShea Weber: The Predators’ leading scorer (29 points) is now on the injured reserve. Getting a healthy Weber back is obviously the biggest “resolution,” even if it might not happen anytime soon.

New Jersey – Martin Brodeur: If the Devils are going to continue to force him into the starting job, maybe he’ll actually produce.

Islanders – Michael Grabner: It’s not that much of a shocker that his 2010-11 season is looking like a fluke. Then again, he didn’t really rev up until the All-Star Game last year, so maybe he’s a second half guy.

RangersMarian Gaborik: He’s been healthy and prolific so far this season. How much longer can he defy his past and stay healthy?

OttawaMilan Michalek: 19 goals might have been the expectation for his full season, but he might be on track for 40.

Philadelphia Ilya Bryzgalov: Not starting the Winter Classic game should probably be a message from the cosmos.

PhoenixRay Whitney: Selanne gets all the love for being a high-scoring vet but Whitney isn’t far behind. (He is a little younger, obviously.)

PittsburghSidney Crosby: Can he really get healthy soon? If nothing else, let’s hope he doesn’t get any more concussions.

San Jose – Brent Burns: Just 12 points for a guy who was an All-Star last year? It seemed like he was primed to be Dan Boyle’s twin statistically, but that hasn’t worked out.

St. Louis – No more concussions: Seriously, the Blues have been plagued by them.

Tampa Bay – Goaltending: Whether it’s Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon or someone who gets there via a transaction, the Lightning need better goaltending.

TorontoJames Reimer: He’s been disappointing since returning from an injury. Whether that happened because of it or it was just a coincidence, he hasn’t played well.

Vancouver – Roberto Luongo: Bobby Luo started slow but has been much better lately. Hopefully that will continue.

Washington Alex Ovechkin: 31 points would be great for most players, but it is a letdown at Ovi’s level. Mike Green’s health is second and improvement from Tomas Vokoun ranks third.

Winnipeg Ondrej Pavelec: Can he keep up his recent hot play with some big tests coming up in January?



Raffi Torres basically keeps asking for a suspension. Brendan Shanahan might oblige him today … Ian Cole received a three-game suspension for a dirty hit … The Ducks are pondering the idea of splitting up Perry and Getzlaf, which would honestly be kind of stunning … Victor Hedman’s concussion with reportedly sideline him indefinitely … Tyler Bozak is on the IR … I mentioned it already, but Shea Weber is on the IR too … Andy Sutton might get in trouble for another bad hit … An upper-body injury looks to sideline Christian Ehrhoff for “weeks” …  Matt Duchene will probably miss about a month with a knee injury … Krys Barch might face some discipline for an alleged racial slur … Derek Smith will miss 6-8 weeks with a high-ankle sprain … James Wisniewski could miss close to that much time with a fractured ankle … Jose Theodore is day-to-day with a lower-body injury … Sergei Gonchar is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. (Click here for the full injury list.)

James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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