In our Christmas Day series of NHL wish lists, this installment takes a look at four teams in the Atlantic Division, specifically the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, and Montreal Canadiens. Two of the three teams are in the playoff hint while the other is trying to decide where they take the organization. Are the Canadiens so bad that they’re going to be forced into a rebuild?
Montreal Canadiens Wish List
The Canadiens will be faced with a tough decision. Currently 7-21-3, they can either hold firm with something close to the team they currently have or start again and get ready for the 2022-23 NHL season. Regardless of which way they go, players will be moved, it’s simply a matter of how many.
If the Canadiens could get anything this Christmas, it’s clear directions. Under the guidance of Jeff Gorton, the organization will hire a GM and the two work together to try and right the ship. Perhaps the best thing for the franchise would be fate stepping in and making this decision easy. If the team is so far out of the running that it’s an easy decision to tear it down and rebuild, then the club can do that, moving pieces and getting prospects, draft picks and long-term assets in return. Without that, the Canadiens might try to salvage what they can with the core pieces of the roster. That may not be the best plan.
Toronto Maple Leafs Wish List
The Maple Leafs have too many defenseman and the best thing for the team coming out of the break is a path towards moving either Justin Holl or Travis Dermott. Leafs fans seem to want Holl gone but the demand for his services might be limited. If GM Kyle Dubas can find a taker for Holl, he can make other moves, ideally adding to this team without having to move another first-round draft pick.
Dubas also needs a healthy roster as the Leafs have been hit hard lately with positive COVID tests. There are at least 12 players on the protocol list and while the holiday pause has been extended, the Leafs might be missing key roster pieces coming out of the break. The depth of the roster was starting to produce and that was leading to better results. What the Maple Leafs don’t need are more games where most of the roster is missing.
Boston Bruins Wish List
Like most teams, the Bruins need to be healthier than they currently are. They also need to find another top-four defenseman. The second was a need this off-season that wasn’t addressed. The first is something the team can’t do much about.
If there’s room in Santa’s sleigh, the Bruins need more depth scoring. In a perfect world, that comes in the form of a second-line center. Boston ranks 23rd in goals scored per game and 30th in 5-on-5 goals scored and that’s got to improve if this team is going to have any chance in the playoffs.
The team would love to have someone on their radar that is actually available and affordable. The team can’t count on David Krejci returning, so they’ll need to look at the trade market.
The window to win isn’t as wide open as it used to be. Star players are aging and now is the time to improve the team.
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