It’s the holiday season and we here at the 4th Line are in a giving mood. We figured we’d share this generosity with the NHL teams and bring a little joy in these turbulent times. As we’re still negotiating a 4th Line merch deal, let’s see what else Santa Gritty has under the tree in the Central Division:
Accounts Payable Department: Businesses have had a very difficult time over the last few years. That goes without saying. This has led to teams trying to cut costs wherever they can. However, the Coyotes should not have fired the accounts payable department, as it was recently learned that they had unpaid taxes, almost leading them to be evicted. They best bring the department back, as to not have any issues again.
Coal: The Chicago Blackhawks tried to sweep an abuse scandal under the rug for years. They get coal. That is all they receive.
Health: The Colorado Avalanche have played 27 games so far this season. Only four players have played in all 27 games. Nathan MacKinnon has missed 10 games. Devon Toews has missed 11 games. Bowen Byram has missed 14 games. In the meantime, the Avalanche have leaned heavily on a renewed inspiration from Nazem Kadri as the main center available. In spite of the missed games, the Avalanche still lead the Central division in points percentage. With a little health, watch out after the break.
Fountain of Youth: The Central division has some high scoring teams (Avalanche 1st, Wild 2nd, Blues 7th in goals per game), highlighting particularly how Dallas’ aging stars are letting them down. Alexander Radulov has one goal so far this season as he has moved down the lineup and is not the player that he once was. Tyler Seguin isn’t the same as continued injury troubles and Jamie Benn will never catch up to us in our goals vs episodes race. Joe Pavelski has escaped Father Time, but the rest of the team isn’t so lucky. Let’s get these players back to their younger form!
Discipline: The Wild are leading the Central division thanks to Kirill Kaprizov proving that he is for real and Cam Talbot returning to form. They’ll need Talbot to be his best self if the Wild continue to give up the most power play opportunities in the league. A middle of the road penalty kill has saved them from it becoming a larger issue, but being shorthanded means that they aren’t scoring (they have 1 shorthanded goal this year). A more disciplined performance will help Minnesota stay on top of the division.
A gift card: While the Predators certainly have a number of needs, general manager David Poile continues to know what his team needs better than the rest of the league does. So, why not let him go do his own shopping? Plus, he already has the gift that keeps on giving, Juuse Saros, so he can gladly fill another need.
St. Louis Blues
Thank you card: We’re going to do the St. Louis Blues a favor and give them a thank you card for them to send it to the New York Rangers. In the offseason, the Rangers traded Pavel Buchnevich to the Blues in exchange for a 2nd round pick and Sammy Blais, who is now injured for the rest of the season. For the Blues, Buchnevich is tied with formerly disgruntled Vladimir Tarasenko in points. They made out like bandits in the trade, and ought to send the Rangers a thank you.
Penalty kill: The Winnipeg Jets are a middle of the road team in so many senses of the word. They are 15th of 32 in goals per game, and 14th of 32 in goals against per game. But that could be significantly improved with a better penalty kill. They currently are 30th in PK%, killing only 70.59% of shorthanded opportunities. While the Jets have improved defensively over previous editions, the fact that their best defenders (Josh Morrissey, Neal Pionk, Nate Schmidt) are fairly absent for penalty kill units speaks to their need for a strong, team leading defender.