While the 2021 NHL entry draft isn't viewed as being as deep as the 2020 class, as with Alexis Lafreniere last season, there appears to be a consensus No. 1 - Michigan's Owen Power. The Wolverines freshman defenceman didn't look out of place playing with the men at the IIHF world championship, winning a gold medal skating for Canada, playing in the top defensive pairing. Power is almost certainly going to the Buffalo Sabres.
Canada's NHL Losing Streak: Odds To Win Stanley Cup In 2017-18
Edmonton Oilers +1000
The Edmonton Oilers enjoyed a breakout year during the 2016-17 season, qualifying for their first postseason in a decade. This horrendous decade of losing gifted Edmonton a slew of high ranking draft picks, including a few first-overall selections.
Finally, all the young talent appears to be paying off, with Conor McDavid leading the charge in what should be a solid team over the next few years.
In the offseason, Edmonton resigned Conor and other vital personnel, while trading deadweight Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome, who should flourish alongside McDavid.
The defense will improve with another year under its belt, and Leon Draisaitl should be under contract before training camp begins. Like most NHL franchises, the Oilers will go as far as their goalie takes them, and Cam Talbot proved himself as a top-notch starter last year, helping the team win a playoff round. As long as McDavid and Talbot stay healthy throughout the season, the Oilers will have the best odds to win the Stanley Cup of any Canadian team in 2017-18.
Toronto Maple Leafs +1400
Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mitch Marner skated circles around the opposition last season, while goalie Frederik Andersen stood on his head, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs to a surprise playoff appearance in 2017. They even pushed the Washington Capitals to six games in a first-round matchup, showing that Toronto’s youngsters weren’t a regular season fluke.
The market for defensemen wasn’t great during the offseason, but they still managed to nab veteran defender Ron Hainsey, a Stanley Cup winner who will solidify the blue line. Patrick Marleau and Dominic Moore were recruited, adding valuable vets to their already deep group of forwards.
The odds are a bit inflated because the Leafs are a popular team. Nonetheless, coach Mike Babcock will get the most out of his lineup, making the Leafs Canada’s second-best chance at a Stanley Cup.
Montreal Canadiens +2000
Last year, the Montreal Canadiens were considered the most likely team In Canada to win the Stanley Cup. They traded P.K. Subban for Shea Weber, which solidified the defense while improving the power play. Alexander Radulov joined the team from Russia, providing much needed scoring. Carey Price enjoyed a healthy year, stonewalling the NHL.
This year, it’s tough to see the Canadiens having the same impact. They fizzled out of contention last playoffs, and allowed Radulov and Andrei Markov to walk for nothing in return. Jonathan Drouin will attempt to replace Radulov’s production, but may have trouble doing so without a good center, a weak position for the Habs.
The team signed Karl Alzner, but gave up Alexei Emelin, Mikhail Sergachev and Nathan Beaulieu, which threatens to destabilize defensive depth. Montreal should make the playoffs, but they’ll likely fall in the first round instead of putting together a lengthy post season run.
Calgary Flames +2500
Calgary was another surprise Canadian team in the playoffs, earning a spot by finishing the 2016-17 regular season on an extended hot streak. Unfortunately, they ran into a tough, experienced Anaheim Ducks team that swept the Flames out of the first round.
The strength of the Flames lies in their defensive core, which is among the best in the league. This group has yet to enjoy stable goaltending, and new acquisition Mike Smith might not be the solution because of his history of injury problems. However, if Smith enjoys a career resurgence, Calgary could make noise when the playoffs begin in 2018.
Ottawa Senators +4000
Despite pushing the eventual Stanley Cup winners to seven games during last year’s eastern conference finals, the Senators aren’t considered serious contenders by sportsbooks this season.
Their odds are more than double the Oilers and Leafs, which might surprise some fans.
The Sens poor odds reflect the belief that the team can’t pull off another Cinderella run this year. Ottawa’s front office did nothing to dispel this notion, doing very little to strengthen the team during the offseason. They also lost Marc Methot during the expansion draft. As such, the Sens are worse off this year in terms of available talent, which isn’t a good sign before the campaign begins.
Winnipeg Jets +5000
Sure, the Jets have some of the most exciting young players in the league, but the franchise still doesn’t appear to have learned their goaltending lesson. They acquired Steve Mason in free agency, a decent goalie who doesn’t have a winning track record.
Steve will be expected to push Connor Hellebuyck for a starting job, but neither of them appear ready to lead the Jets deep into the playoffs.
The Jets splurged on defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, who had a tough 2016-17 season because of back injuries, a move which didn’t comfort fans. Winnipeg will be fun to watch, but the franchise needs to take defense seriously before the Jets have a legitimate shot at a title.
Vancouver Canucks +10000
At this point, the Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup run in 2011 is nothing but a bad memory. Their heartbreaking loss to the Bruins decimated the Canucks, who haven’t fully recovered as a franchise.
At this point, nobody really knows what the front office is doing, because they keep signing ineffective veterans who steal precious development minutes from prospects.
The only good news in the offseason was the hiring of new coach Travis Green, so steer clear of betting on Vancouver for NHL futures. Friends don’t let friends bet on the Canucks.
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Canadian hockey fans have it made. There is no shortage of ways on how to watch the NHL. Whether it's TV stations or online streams, fans can tune in using their phones, tablets, or kick it old school by watching on television. Gone are the days where you had to go to one room and wait for one time to watch the NHL. Here are the many ways to watch the NHL in Canada.
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