Hodgemail: Canada's teams head into the off-season Staff

4/27/2012 10:44:11 AM

With the final sound of the horn at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, the Ottawa Senators joined Canada's six other NHL teams on the sidelines.

And while it's been 19 years since a Canadian NHL team has hoisted the Stanley Cup and with the Senators and Canucks making first-round exits this past week, there will certainly be no shortage of headlines when it comes to Canada's illustrious seven.

In Vancouver, the specualtion is already rampant about goaltender Roberto Luongo. Will the Canucks trade him - and to which team?

The Toronto Maple Leafs are reportedly one of the teams on Luongo's trade list, but anyone who follows this team (which has missed the postseason for seven straight years), will argue that their problems don't just hang on goaltending.

For the third straight year, the Edmonton Oilers will have the first-overall pick in the NHL draft. What will they do with it? Is Brent Sutter going to be their head coach? And who will be the next head coach of the Calgary Flames?

The Ottawa Senators exceeded everyone's expectations this season - what will they do for next year? And will captain Daniel Alfredsson be on the ice on opening night?

The Montreal Canadiens will surely make some noise in the offseason, but obviously can't do much until they hire a new GM (and perhaps a head coach).

And what will the Winnipeg Jets do after their honeymoon season?

So here's Dave's question to you: "What is the most intriguing off-season question facing a Canadian team, and how would you answer it?"

Here are the answers that Dave liked best:

Roberto Luongo's name was mentioned often, as you might expect.

Shane wrote this: "If Luongo joins the Leafs, he'll get them to the playoffs. Next question? Who's the back-up who takes over in the first round?"

David skips past one question to get to another: "How will the Montreal media react when Patrick Roy turns down an offer from the Habs to become coach of the Quebec Nordiques?

Jim's most intriguing question is: "Will Alfredsson return? I'll lose it worse than he did if he doesn't."

This is from Scott in Winnipeg: "The first off-season will provide a real test for the Jets. Can the tremendous fan support lure high-end talent to Winnipeg? (That and some money, maybe)

Michael asks: "Will an ownership change result in a different management style in Toronto? I hope so."

This is from Chris: "Will the Oilers keep the number-one draft pick or trade it? I say "keep it" and add another forward who can score." (I should check to see when this was written, could have been last year, or the year before).

And this was predictable. Ben's most intriguing off-season question? "Which Canadian team has the best golfers?"

And Dave's Reply to All:

Six of the seven Canadian teams will try to get better this summer and the Vancouver Canucks will try not to get worse. The Canucks are in the unique position of needing to make changes after winning two straight President's Trophies. They run the risk of doing too much, or not enough. They'll be the most interesting team to watch, and there will be no results worth evaluating until just about exactly one year from right now.