Let's face it -- even if this team does something spectacular in the last two dozen or so games and slides into the playoffs, there's no way we're getting out of the first round. I think now's a good time to break things down into assets and liabilities for next year, which is one where we should have enough young/old talent to make a run.
1. Coaching -- powerplay has been maddeningly inconsistent with no visible scheme that makes sense. That's coaching. Faceoffs have been a problem since day 1, with 1-2 players making inroads, but nothing else. That's coaching. Defense has looked awful, making the same mistakes over and over. That's coaching. If we're cool with that, then keep Mo and company. If not, well...let's be serious. Coach Mo has THREE top shelf, grade A all-stars on his team, and he's still a .500 coach on the borderline of being out of the playoffs for the second straight season. Is that acceptable to the franchise?
2. Defensive lineup -- it's just not cutting the mustard. When your most consistent defender all year long is Jay Harrison, you've got problems. Corvo is playing really well right now, and is a decent complimentary first pairing guy IF...his teammate is up to the challenge. I hate to say it, but Gleason has been sub-par all year this year. There is no way he is living up to the A on his sweater. I just don't know what's wrong with him, but he's playing more like a second or third pairing guy rather than a first. McBain, Harrison have potential, but Pitkanen and White don't really fit into the future. Bring up Carson, et. al. or trade for some fellas.
3. Forwards -- So very happy Dalpe and Boychuk have made the transition; now let's keep them here. Need to find a way to transition 2-3 more guys up as well. Jettison LaRose, Cole, Samsonov and -- I hate to say it -- Ruutu while we have the chance. The CONSISTENT forwards/centers we have, i.e. Staal, Skinner, Sutter, Jokinen, Bodie, Dwyer, plus Tlusty and his flashes of brilliance amidst injury, are decent to build around.
This team has made some great strides this season, but had its fair share of steps backwards, and I think we as a franchise/fanbase can expect a higher grade of talent on the ice next year. GO CANES!!!