Canadian NHL Teams Move Forward After Trade Deadline
Winnipeg Poised For Deep Playoff Run
Winnipeg came out of nowhere to grab Stastny from the Blues at the deadline as the idea of St Louis being "sellers" surprised the entire league. The Jets already had one of the deepest groups of forwards in the league, but with Stastny coming to town it's an abundance of riches over there. The Jets are still going to have to prove it come playoff time, but they get to show off their new star in a huge game with Nashville on Tuesday night.
If the Winnipeg Jets are going to make a deep playoff run this spring, getting through Nashville is basically a must. Tuesday's home game against the Predators will help the Jets see exactly where they stand in that race, and the stakes of this huge game won't be lost on the team or the fans. After Nashville, the Jets schedule really lightens up for awhile with a long stretch of very winnable games before a back-to-back in Washington and Nashville in two weeks. The Jets have to use this time to rack up points in the standings while getting Stastny up to speed as you should be looking to back Winnipeg on the ML for their next handful of games.
Toronto is Canada's Next Best Hope For A Cup Run
The Toronto Maple Leafs did their dealing before Monday's deadline as they grabbed longtime rival Tomas Plekanec from Montreal earlier and he seemed to fit in just fine with his new teammates so far. Toronto didn't get the result they would have liked on Monday night with a 4-3 shootout loss to Tampa, but when you take the league's best team down to the wire, there are plenty of positives that can be found.
The Leafs are all about holding on to their current spot/situation right now as they wait for Austin Matthews to get healthy. This is still a very young Leafs team that may be a year or two away from really making that deep run in the post-season, but the excitement is plentiful within the city about their team's chances this year, and with really noone other than Winnipeg currently in a playoff position as far as Canadian teams go, general hockey fans across the country are going to have hitch their wagon to Toronto at some point this spring if they want to see this Stanley Cup drought for Canadian teams end.
What's Exactly Next For Montreal And Ottawa
Montreal was expected to ship Captain Max Pacioretty out of town, while Ottawa was fielding plenty of calls about sending their Captain Erik Karlsson to a new address. Both players would have likely welcomed a new venue and a chance to play for the Cup this year, but given they are both stuck with some hurt feelings on losing squads, it really will be interesting to see how each team/player moves on from this ordeal.
Being the subject of rampant trade rumors, especially in a Canadian market is never easy, but when all those rumors end up being simply that and the player is stuck in his current situation, a lot of hositility between them and the organization can rise to the surface. There is no question Montreal and Ottawa have a lot of moves to make this summer, but regarding their immediate future, we might see a lot of disinterested play - or guys rallying around one another and embracing their "spoiler" role - the rest of the way.
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