Alright guys, it wasn't pretty. We finished in last place in the East on a team that our GM thought would compete for a playoff spot. Granted, a lot went wrong to get us to that point: Komisarek's injury, Kessel's late start to the season, Vesa Toskala's goaltending. That said, a lot will have to go right next year (starting with this offseason) to get us back into the playoffs. Here's a list of things that I expect our wise and benevolent GM will be wishing for or hoping to achieve this offseason.
- A first line center - Don't get me wrong, I like Tyler Bozak, and Kadri's development in the CHL this season has been impressive. My preference would be to see Bozak centering the second line and Kadri heading up the third line with reduced responsibility and pressure.
- A first round draft pick - I'm not about to go into the whole Kessel deal at length but we all know that the move has left us without a first rounder this season. Despite this, Burkie has chosen to go with youth and it's a strategy that I whole-heartedly endorse. You've got to think that he'd love to pick up a first rounder.
- A home for Jeff Finger - Buyouts suck. We're still paying Darcy Tucker for crap sakes. So how do we get Finger out of here? In all likelihood we don't, but is there any chance we can bury his money in the minors? A guy can dream...
- Tamper with the Vacouver Canucks - It isn't a successful offseason if we don't, at some point, piss off Mike Gillis.
- More toughness in his 'bottom six' - Colton Orr beat the crap out of Matt Carkner with regularity. The only problem is, with him in the box, we didn't have anyone to beat up Chris Neil. Hopefully next year, we will.
- A bidding war on Tomas Kaberle - I'll miss him dearly but let's face it, we have way too much money tied up in our defense. The market for puck moving defensemen seems to be highly variable. Sometimes they're in high demand and you can get some pretty alluring packages. Other times, you'll see a guy move and wonder, "how was THAT all it took!?". Let's hope, for our sake it's the former and not the latter.