Yesterday we looked at what the Pacific Division needed. Today, we begin to make our way east and examine the Central. Buckle in, folks.
Need: Top 6 right wing
Player: Hilary Knight
Reasoning: I imagine Knight serving a similar role on the Predators as James Neal, only adding Knight into the mix means you’ve got two of that style of player. And two is better than one, right? Look, the Predators don’t need much—they’re at the top of the league for a reason. But I feel like the addition of a high-intensity, high-scoring forward like Knight could really kick them into a higher gear. And hey, Anaheim’s loss is Nashville’s gain.
Need: 3rd pairing defenseman
Player: Blake Bolden
Reasoning: If you don’t know Bolden—well, you should. She plays for the Boston Blades, and is a Boston College alum. Last I checked, she was playing forward for the Blades, but she played defense in college and was pretty good at it. Like the Predators, the Blackhawks don’t need much, but the addition of a player like Bolden would benefit them greatly. She can be a reliable part of that third pairing, but she could also legitimately switch to a bottom six forward if injury makes it necessary, giving the Blackhawks some nice flexibility.
St. Louis Blues
Need: The only answer I could get from anyone was “better depth forwards”.
Player: Monique Lamoureux and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson
Reasoning: I’m cheating here and giving the Blues two players. I know Mo is playing defense for the Blades right now, and Jo isn’t playing at all, but can you imagine these twin terrors in the Blues’ bottom six? Not only could they provide offensive power as depth forwards, they’re legitimately horrible to have to play against. Talent mixes with edge in these two in a way that suits St. Louis perfectly—and you know at least one of them is bound to pick a fight with Chicago’s Andrew Shaw.
Need: Defense that is alive and in one piece
Player: Mira Jalosuo
Reasoning: They love Finnish players in Winnipeg, right? In all seriousness, when I started working on this post Winnipeg was down pretty much all of their defensemen, I think. They’ve since gotten a few back, but Jalosuo, who isn’t easy to play against, would make a nice addition to their blue line. I’d start her with Bogosian, or Trouba when he gets back, and let her go.
Need: Backup goalie
Player: Shannon Szabados
Reasoning: She’s one of the best goalies in the world—isn’t that reason enough? Girl’s already proven she can hack it with men, over and over (not that she should have to) and she’s got experience living in the south. I think she could handle Texas just fine, and she’d be a mighty nice starter option once Dallas is ready to move on from Lehtonen.
Player: Jincy Dunne (Captain America Jincy Dunne, to you)
Reasoning: Dunne, who recently captained the USA women’s U18 team to gold, is insanely talented and is only going to get better. While she’s probably not NHL ready right this second, getting her into some games certainly wouldn’t do Colorado any damage. She adapts well to pressure and has a nice offensive upside—have you seen her backhand? And she’s no stranger to playing with the guys, having played for several years on her men’s high school team along with her U19 select women’s team. Play her with Tyson Barrie. He can be the veteran in that pair, and I think they’d develop a nice partnership.
Need: Goaltending—any goaltending
Player: Noora Räty
Reasoning: Wild, this one has been staring you in the face for a couple years now. Noora’s the obvious choice here, given that she is a) one of the best goaltenders in the world, b) has ties to the area, having played for the Golden Gophers, and c) like Szabados, is currently playing against men and doing a damn good job of it. She loves Minnesota, and I think if the Wild brought her in right now, Minnesota would grow to love her even more than they already do.