Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers - Game Six

Poll: Which Canadian team will break the country’s Stanley Cup drought?


You knew this poll was coming today. The Montreal Canadiens were eliminated last night, meaning that Canada’s Stanley Cup drought — no team has won it since the Habs in 1993 — will continue until at least next season.

Of the seven Canadian teams, there isn’t really one that screams Cup contender. Six of them missed the playoffs this season, and with all due respect to Montreal, there weren’t a ton of people picking the Habs to go as far as they did. Meanwhile…

— Calgary’s still in the early stages of a rebuild.

— Edmonton’s been rebuilding for what seems like forever. And based on last season, plenty of construction remains.

— Ottawa has Erik Karlsson…and financial limitations.

— Toronto still doesn’t have the kind of elite center that Cup-winning teams usually have. Not to mention the kind of stud defenseman.

— Vancouver has a new GM that thinks the Canucks can be turned around “in a hurry.” His opinion, however, is in the minority.

— The Jets have no shortage of talent. What they lack is reliable goaltending.

Our vote? We’re giving it to Montreal. PK Subban and Carey Price are legitimate stars, and both of them are only in their mid-20s. Max Pacioretty and Lars Eller are still young. Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher are even younger.

It’s far from a perfect roster in Montreal. But then, in voting, one has to consider the competition.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.