Cornwall Ontario – First day of the NHL season and hope is eternal for all 31 clubs.
Capwise here are how the teams rank from top to bottom:
Which just goes to show you that cash doesn’t fix all ills in the cap age.
And here are my fearless predictions of which Canadian teams will win the most games for the 2017/18 season.
The forward corp are simply too strong to not finish first or darn close. The D’s weakness is not moving the puck up the ice, and their goal is strong enough to not be a drag on win totals. The team surely will be improving over a first round playoff last of last season.
Look for Mitch Marner to have a break out season and William Nylander to put the team in a quandary about what to do with him?
The Jets tease fans every year. On paper the team is six flavours of awesome and they find a way to miss the playoffs or implode.
This year the team makes the playoffs and expect Patrik Laine to put 40 in the net. Josh Morrissey has a big opportunity this season, and Marko Dano has to decide if he wants to be a top six forward. Not sure the goalie upgrade is of that much quality, but it certainly shouldn’t be worse.
I would expect GM Kevin Cheveldayoff to be more active this season as the team really needs to win.
Gone are the days of the Oilers racking up top draft picks and flopping. Jordan Eberle was dumped, but the team still has a 1st rounder making the team in Kailer Yamamoto who looks to be an exciting bundle of points on right wing. Don’t be surprised for the rookie to put up 40+ points.
There are questions about their D until Sekera recovers, but this team has just about everything and a bit more.
Yes, I’m picking the Canucks ahead of Ottawa, Montreal, and Calgary. They just have added a lot of interesting players based on their needs. They’re now deep, even on D, and that’s just if their players average out. The big question is in nets and whether the Sedins at 37 can have a bounce back season in their contract year. If they show any more deterioration it could jeopardize them finishing their careers in Vancouver.
The Sens have a huge issue in that captain and star Erik Karlsson seems to have part of his ankle bone removed. While it’s noble that he’s rounded out his game with shot blocking and other heavy lifting D chores, his strengths now might be impinged, if in fact his career isn’t in jeopardy.
As scary as that all is, the Sens simply are a deep and talented team that had a great playoff run last season after some amazing coaching by Guy Boucher.
Can they repeat the success of last season? Possibly, but the squad will have an uphill battle if Karlsson can’t be Karlsson, or worse, loses him. Mike Condon will also need to improve as Craig Anderson, while resigned for two more seasons, is 36.
The Flames were going to be 7th until they signed Jaromir Jagr, who not only is a good fit for the squad, but might be turned into a 2nd draft pick come trade deadline time.
Calgary sadly is a team that is drifting backwards. It’s not a plunge or deep descent, but they haven’t been able to make the moves to get ahead.
They are top heavy with a lot of question marks on their roster including picking up 35 year old Mike Smith to be their guy in goal.
Add in the issue of their arena becoming political and this doesn’t look to be the Flames season.
The team is also missing its 1st, 2nd, & 5th round draft picks which you would normally think inspire them to play better rather than see their value increased to the teams that now own them?
It will be a frustrating year to be a Flames fan, but not as frustrating as it will be to be a fan of the Canadiens who finish our ranking at 7th place.
I know. It seems crazy, but you have to remember I’m writing this as of day one for a team with about $8M in cap space, and no true #1 Centre still. A team that traded its future 1D in Mikhail Sergachev for a problem child in Tampa, and has a D corp that frankly is scary.
This is a team that’s banking on a 19 year old rookie being a proper fit for Shea Weber. That’s a lot of pressure for the Victor Mete.
Not sure what GM Marc Bergevin has against Russians, but it’s cost the team a lot of capital after a season that saw Radulov, Markov, and Sergachev jettisoned and Galchenyuk being next on the list if you listen to the buzz and chatter in trade rumor land.
It’s fine to shift direction and even take a step back. Sometimes it’s what you have to do, but this is a team that seems to be run more as a fantasy squad than NHL squad.
Goalie Carey Price should carry the team this season as usual, but he’s not getting younger, hasn’t proven himself truly in the playoffs, and now has an untradeable contract.
And that ultimately is the problem for the Habs. They don’t seem to have a clear direction or design, and in a cap age that will bite you in the lower area of your natty threads.
What do you think dear CFN viewers? Will your favorite Canadian team do well this season? You can post your comments below.