For the first time in 46 years — and the first time since the National Hockey League had more than two Canadian franchises — the Stanley Cup playoffs will not feature a team from north of the 49th parallel.

With the Philadelphia Flyers’ victory over the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night, the Ottawa Senators became the seventh and final Canadian team eliminated from the playoff race.

Now, the seven teams await the results of the April 30 draft lottery, all with the hope of winning the Auston Matthews sweepstakes to turn their fortunes around.

The debate has been raised, with each team sitting in the league’s bottom 14 spots, over which team would be most attractive for new general manager to take over. breaks down the key pieces that would be acquired with each franchise.


Calgary Flames

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Current Record: 32-39-6

Odds of winning the draft lottery (based on points percentage): 7.50%

The Flames have a young core and are just one year removed from a playoff run, which included a first-round victory over the Vancouver Canucks. At forward, the team’s future appears to rest on the shoulders of Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett – three of the 10 forwards currently on the Flames roster who are 25 or younger. Monahan has posted three straight seasons with 20 or more goals, while Gaudreau has crossed 20-goal plateau in each of his first two full seasons. Bennett, 19, has scored 17 goals through 72 games in his rookie campaign.

On defence, the team is anchored by veteran Mark Giordano, but the team has a compelling group of rising stars on the blueline, includes T.J. Brodie, Dougie Hamilton and Jyrki Jokipakka, who was acquired at the trade deadline this season from the Dallas Stars for defenceman Kris Russell. The team could also hold a second first-round pick in this year’s draft if the Stars reach the Western Conference finals. If not, the team will hold three second-round picks in June.

It is worth noting the team will be saddled with Giordano’s $6.75 million cap hit through his age-37 season in 2021-22.

The team’s biggest weakness is a glaring need at goaltender. The Flames own the league’s worst save percentage at .890 (well below the .902 of the second-worst Columbus Blue Jackets) and a give up a putrid 3.18 goals against per game. The team has employed four netminders in the crease this season (Karri Ramo, Jonas Hiller, Joni Ortio and Niklas Backstrom), and none own a winning record. All four are playing on expiring contracts, though Ortio is pegged for restricted free agency.


Edmonton Oilers

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Current Record: 30-42-7

Odds of winning the draft lottery (based on points percentage): 20%

Based on the skill of their roster alone, the Oilers would appear to be the most attractive team in Canada to take over. The team has four first-overall draft picks on the roster and currently own the best odds to add a fifth to the lineup. Despite this embarrassment of draft riches, the team has failed to find success and have not reached the playoffs since failing in the 2006 Stanley Cup final.

The team’s young core appears to set at forward with Connor McDavid, Taylor Hall, Leon Draisaitl, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but the team is sorely lacking depth on defence and have a trade request from 2012 top pick Nail Yakupov to deal with.

On defence, the team currently has two former top-10 picks in their lineup in Darnell Nurse and Griffin Reinhart. Reinhart, a first-round pick of the New York Islanders in 2012, has spent the majority of his career in the AHL since being drafted, while Nurse, drafted in 2013, is enjoying his first season in an Oilers uniform. Oscar Klefbom, the 19th pick in the 2011 draft, is signed with the team through the 2022-23 season, while veteran Andrej Sekera, 29, is signed through 2021.

Earlier this season, the team signed goaltender Cam Talbot through the 2018-19 season. Talbot and Laurent Brossoit currently man the net for the Oilers, with Talbot posting a 2.51 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage in 53 games.


Montreal Canadiens

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Current Record: 35-36-6

Odds of winning the draft lottery (based on points percentage): 5%

The Montreal Canadiens will miss the playoffs for just the third time since the 2004-05 NHL lockout this season, largely due to a lower-body injury which has sidelined goaltender Carey Price for all but 12 games this season.

With Price, the Canadiens own a roster capable of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, which they fell two wins shy of two seasons ago. Price won not only the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender last season, but also the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s most valuable player. His value to the Canadiens was proven this season; their 18-32-4 record since his November injury is the worst in the NHL.

The team’s forwards are led by captain Max Pacioretty, who shares the team’s goal scoring lead with 22-year-old forward Alex Galchenyuk. Though he’s been limited to 49 games this season, 23-yearold winger Brendan Gallagher sits third on the team with 18 goals.

On defence, the Canadiens have their own star defenceman in 2013 Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban. Like Karlsson, Subban is key building block for the Canadiens who brings elite offensive skill to the blueline.


Ottawa Senators

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Current Record: 35-33-9

Odds of winning the draft lottery (based on points percentage): 3.50%

The Senators own a roster on the verge of a “win-now” mentality. The team is currently in the midst of a disappointing season that fell well shy of their playoff aspirations, but still hold a core that is in, or entering its prime.

The team owns the league’s best offensive defenceman in 25-year-old Erik Karlsson and boosted their defence with the acquisition of Dion Phaneuf this season. Karlsson, a two-time Norris Trophy winner, is a blue-chip player any franchise would like to build around. He leads a group that also includes 22-year-old Cody Ceci, a first-round pick in 2012. Ceci will be a restricted free agent this summer.  

The team’s future at forward appears bright, led by Mark Stone, Mike Hoffman, Mika Zibanejad, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Curtis Lazar – all under the age of 27.Like Ceci, Hoffman will also be a restricted free agent in July. Clarke McArthur, who should return healthy next season after dealing with concussion symptoms throughout the 2015-16 campaign, and Bobby Ryan provide a veteran presence to the team’s lineup.

At goaltender, the team has the duo of veteran starter Craig Anderson and backup Andrew Hammond. Anderson, 34, and Hammond, 28, both remain under contract for two more seasons with a combined cap hit of $5.55 million.


Toronto Maple Leafs

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Current Record: 28-37-11

Odds of winning the draft lottery (based on points percentage): 13.50%

The Toronto Maple Leafs were expected to struggle in their first season under Mike Babcock, but the team has recently begun to crawl out of the league’s basement with six wins in their past nine games.

The Leafs are in the midst of a full-fledged rebuild, which has seen them trade former team staples Phil Kessel, Phaneuf and James Reimer. In addition, key forwards Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsdyk were limited to 46 and 40 games, respectively, this season.

However, 2014 first-round pick William Nylander has flashed elite skill in 16 games with the Leafs and other rookies, namely Zach Hyman and Nikita Soshnikov, have showed signs of future pro success.

Centre Nazem Kadri, playing on a one-year contract ahead of restricted free agency, owns the Leafs lead in points with 44 – which ties him for 105th in the NHL.

With 12 draft picks in the upcoming draft and a series of prospects, including the 2015 fourth-overall pick Mitch Marner, the Leafs will have no shortage of talented players in their system.

Defence remains a concern for the franchise, as only Matt Hunwick, Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner have proven NHL résumés among the team’s current core.

Goaltending is also a concern for the Leafs, as Jonathan Bernier has battled consistency in an 11-20-3 season, with three shutouts and .907 save percentage. Rookie Garret Sparks now shares the net with Bernier, and owns a 6-5-1 record this year. Bernier is under contract through next season.


Vancouver Canucks

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Current Record: 27-36-13

Odds of winning the draft lottery (based on points percentage): 11.50%

While the Canucks have attempted to get younger, especially at forward, over the past year, the team has also committed to keeping forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin through the 2017-18 campaign.

The Sedin twins, 35, sit one-two in team scoring for the Canucks this season, as they have in each of the past nine seasons. Second-year player Bo Horvat sits third, while 23-year-old Sven Baertschi sits fifth, behind veteran Jannik Hansen. Jake Virtanen, the team’s first-round pick in 2014, has seven goals and 13 points in 51 games this year.

Dan Hamhuis and Alex Edler lead the team’s defence core, but general manager Jim Benning has faced criticism for holding onto Hamhuis, who has a full no-trade clause, at the trade deadline. Hamhuis and Radim Vrbata are both slated to hit unrestricted free agency this summer. Hamhuis is the lone defenceman on the Canucks’ roster currently over the age of 30.

At goaltender, 35-year-old starter Ryan Miller is signed through next season with a cap hit of $6 million. Miller and backup Jacob Markstrom, 26, have matching .917 save percentages. Markstrom is also set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2017.

The goalies, however, haven’t been the problem this season for the Canucks, who own the league’s worst goal differential at minus-49 and rank dead last in scoring with just 2.21 goals per game.


Winnipeg Jets

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Current Record: 31-39-7

Odds of winning the draft lottery (based on points percentage): 8.50%

The Jets made the playoffs as a wild card team last season, but have struggled to find similar success during the 2014-15 campaign.

With their playoff hopes dwindling at the trade deadline, the team opted to trade captain Andrew Ladd to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for prospect Marko Dano and a 2016 first-round pick, along with two other players.

The team did, however, lock up defenceman Dustin Byfuglien with a five-year contract extension this season. Byfuglien is a key piece of the Jets defence, which also includes 26-year-old Tyler Myers and 22-year-old Jacob Trouba, who will be a restricted free agent this summer.

At forward, the team is led by winger Blake Wheeler, 29, who has scored 20 or more goals in each of the past three seasons. Mark Scheifele, 23, owns the team lead in goals with a career-high 26 this season. Rookie Nikolaj Ehlers has 14 goals and 32 points.

One major area of concern for the Jets this season has been the power play. The team owns the league’s worst conversion rate with the man advantage, clicking just a 14.1 per cent rate. Last season, the team converted at a 17.8 per cent clip.

In the crease, the team has split starts evenly amongst Ondrej Pavelec, Michael Hutchison and Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck leads the group with a .918 save percentage and is the only one of three with a winning record this season at 13-11-1. He is currently playing with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.

Best of the North

Which Canadian team would be the most attractive to a new GM?