Woe Canada, Part 2: Country’s Cup Drought Likely to Continue

canada hockey

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, January 25, 2018 3:54 PM GMT

Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018 3:54 PM GMT

With the NHL on its All-Star break, it’s as good a time as any to update whether any Canadian team will end that country’s long Stanley Cup drought.

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Back on Oct. 19 when the 2017-18 NHL season was just a couple of weeks old, this writer addressed a Sports Interaction NHL prop on whether a team from Canada would win that country’s first Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens beat Wayne Gretzky’s Los Angeles Kings in the 1993 Finals.

I thought it was worth rolling the dice on yes at +275, because at time the Toronto Maple Leafs were the betting favorites to win the Stanley Cup and the Edmonton Oilers were the favorites to win the Western Conference. How good would a Cup Finals between second-year Leafs star Auston Matthews and third-year Oilers superstar Connor McDavid be? Maybe not for American TV ratings or fans, but Canada would implode.

At the NHL’s All-Star break, I’m not saying a Canadian team won’t win the Cup for sure, but it’s not looking good. Here’s a look at each team and their current Cup odds at 5Dimes.

Winnipeg Jets (+1625): The Jets are the surprise team of the Canadian teams as they are battling for the most points in the Western Conference. This is a franchise that has made the playoffs just once since moving from Atlanta and finished fifth in the Central Division last year. But the Jets have the second-best goal differential in the West, a deep group of forwards led by Blake Wheeler and a Vezina Trophy candidate in Connor Hellebuyck. They might actually have staying power.

Toronto Maple Leafs (+1625): The Leafs aren’t winning their Atlantic Division because the Tampa Bay Lightning look like the best team in hockey. Toronto, in fact, probably won’t finish second, either, as the Boston Bruins are playing great. So, we could be looking at a Bruins-Leafs first-round playoff series, and you have to favor Boston there. Toronto needs help on the blueline ahead of the trading deadline as it ranks 18th in goals against.

Calgary Flames (+2000): Calgary won seven straight games from Dec. 31-Jan. 14 but has slipped back into a funk since. That’s really the problem with this club – inconsistency. Goaltender Mike Smith was a terrific offseason pickup and Johnny Gaudreau is having a career season. There’s just not enough depth here.

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Beautiful shot of the Edmonton Oilers season. pic.twitter.com/kPuQkLne07

— Pej (@StefanPejic) January 24, 2018
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Edmonton Oilers (+4000): Hands down, the most disappointing team in the NHL. It’s a bit surprising that ownership hasn’t fired Coach Todd MacLellan yet – three of the team’s past six home games have ended in 5-0 losses, including an inexcusable one to Buffalo on Tuesday. This is no fluke, either, as the Oilers have a losing record at home, and are below average in scoring (23rd), goals-against (26th), on the power play (30th) and on the penalty kill (31st). McDavid has been good, but he doesn’t get much help. Cam Talbot is not playing like a No. 1 in net. The Oilers will have to have a huge second half simply to have a shot at a wild-card spot.

Montreal Canadiens (+10000): The Habs finished with 103 points last season and won the Atlantic Division but were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs by the Rangers -- and things have only gone downhill since. Montreal started the season 1-6-1 and has made it over .500 just twice since. It didn’t help that Carey Price missed a handful of games injured, but his numbers aren’t to their usual standards. The Habs also have no players with more than 30 points.

Ottawa Senators (+20000): The Senators had a shocking run to the East Finals last season, pushing Pittsburgh to a double overtime in Game 7 before falling. But now the only thing keeping Ottawa out of the Atlantic basement is Buffalo. The lone team with worse goaltending than the Senators has been the Islanders, but at least New York can score. Ottawa (2.63 gpg) can’t.

Vancouver Canucks (+25000): This was always going to be a rebuilding season in Vancouver, and the only thing Canucks fans can look forward to is perhaps winning the NHL Draft lottery later this year.

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