I originally thought that for this blog I would write a Christmas list to good'ol St. Nick listing all the necessary presents my Isles can use...but then I realized that list might be way too long. I have a list that not only addresses this season, but the years that follow. So instead, I broke it down to the basics, and it all comes down to one issue: this team needs work.
For starters...I really hope that Santa, or the hockey Gods, or whoever you feel should be addressed in this blog, assures us the day where the papers announce the completion of the Lighthouse Project proposal. It seems from several sources that the Lighthouse is moving along nicely, just not as fast as everyone hoped. Once again, Isles fans' patience is being tested. For me, as long as it happens, whether it's at the end of the 2009-2010 season or at the end of this season, I don't care. At this point I just want it to happen in the relatively near future.
As far as the present goes, the Isles need that top overall pick in this draft. They need a guy like Tavares to step in and take command of this team. Okposo and Bailey may be a threatening combo one day with Bergenheim, Comeau, and Nielsen as our depth players on the third line, but this team lacks that one player that everyone can revolve around. We don't have our Gaborik, Kovalchuk, Crosby, or Thorton. If we can get that type of player, this team will be much better in the years that follow - I am not saying we'll make the playoffs, but you can bet we would be much more competitive than we are today. (And please, please don't let the draft lottery screw us over, if we finish last, let us get the 1st overall pick!)
As well with that top pick, the Isles need to add more picks like they did last year WITHOUT trading down. Although I cringed and cried when it happened, moving down in the draft for the 9th overall pick was very smart because he re-stocked our system with a lot of young promise. Because of those moves, I can say that I sure as hell can't wait for Petrov to wear an Isles jersey, whenever that may be. But with that being said, Snow needs to hold that top five pick this year. He has to pull the trigger on deals for Weight, Guerin, Sillinger, Comrie, Sim, Sutton, Witt, or any other player that attracts more picks, even if they are in the 2nd and 3rd round in order to add to this year's draft. We can't hold on to impending free-agents like Weight, Guerin, Comrie, and Sillinger like we did last year with Fedotenko, Satan, Vasicek, and so on.
Some added scoring punch in the off-season would be nice as well. Tavares would be the young star to build the team around, but he would need someone to play with like Crosby did when he first started with Mark Recchi. Even if we don't land Tavares and end up getting Hedman or some other blue-collar prospect, the Isles still need proven scorers on this team. Gaborik maybe? The Sedin twins?
On defense the Isles need someone to play with Streit to help with the lack of scoring as well. Sutton, Martinek, Meyer, Gervais, and Witt have not been known for putting up big numbers. They are 'defense first' defenseman, and that's fine because every team needs that stay-at-home guy. Unfortunately we have to many, and Streit is the only one who can honestly quarterback the power play. Campoli has shown he has the capabilities to show off his offensive flair, but like goaltenders, defenseman typically take longer to develop. If Streit had someone like Jay Boumwester at the opposite end of the blue line, our d-corps would be much stronger.
I know I'm asking for a lot, therefore I only expect maybe half of what I'm writing to end up under my Christmas tree, but the Isles need a lot of things to turn this franchise around. I'm not disturbed by this team's mid-year results; I knew this would happen, and many fans that are angry and outraged knew it would too, they are just having trouble accepting it.
It is a lot to ask from us, but the youth movement requires patience, and so far I am confident in Snow's ability to turn this team into a contender in the future.
With my holiday rant being said, I wish a happy and healthy holidays to everyone out there!