Which Canadian NHL teams have improved most so far? | Hockey | CBC Sports

Hockey Night in CanadaWhich Canadian NHL teams have improved most so far?

Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 | 02:31 PM

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Ryan Miller was the Vancouver Canucks' biggest free agent acquisition on Tuesday. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press) Ryan Miller was the Vancouver Canucks' biggest free agent acquisition on Tuesday. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

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With training camps slightly more than two months away, here's a look at the situations with the seven Canadian-based NHL clubs since the end of the 2013-14 season. 

The Montreal Canadiens were the only Canadian-based NHL team to make the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs. 

This has given management teams in Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg plenty of time to work on their rosters for next season.

The Canadiens, of course, advanced to the East final in only the second year under general manager Marc Bergevin and head coach Michel Therrien. 

As a result, the Habs have the most promise heading into the 2014-15 season, but one of the biggest challenges will be to sign rock star restricted free-agent defenceman P.K. Subban.

The Maple Leafs have a new president in Brendan Shanahan. The Flames and Canucks have new GMs in Brad Treliving and Jim Benning, respectively. Vancouver was the only Canadian club to change its head coach with AHL Calder Cup-winning Willie Desjardins moving behind the Canucks bench.

There still will be plenty of moves to come before training camps open on Sept. 18. But for now, let's take a look the seven-team Canadian contingent and the moves they have made since the end of the regular season.

Calgary Flames

Last season: Finished 27th overall at 35-40-7 to miss the playoffs for a fifth season in a row

In with the new: G Jonas Hiller, D Deryk Engelland, LW Mason Raymond, LW/C Brandon Bollig 

Out with the old: G Joey MacDonald, D Chris Butler, D Shane O'Brien, D Derek Smith, LW Michael Cammalleri, RW Kevin Westgarth, LW TJ Galiardi, C Paul Byron

The skinny: The Flames suffered a big loss with the free-agent departure of Cammalleri, but continued the rebuild with their first-round draft pick (fourth overall) Sam Bennett to give them a nice one-two punch down the middle with Sean Monahan. Calgary also added toughness with the trade for Bollig and the signing of UFA Engelland.

Capgeek.com says: Calgary has 18 players under contract and $19.2-million US in salary cap space 

Bodog.ca says: Odds for the Flames to make the playoffs, 3 to 1

Edmonton Oilers

Last season: Finished 28th overall at 29-44-8 to miss the playoffs for an eighth consecutive season, the longest current streak of its kind in the NHL

In with the new: D Keith Aulie, D Mark Fayne, D Nikita Nikitin, LW Benoit Pouliot, RW Teddy Purcell

Out with the old: D Anton Belov, D Mark Fraser, C Sam Gagner, LW Ryan Jones, LW Ryan Smyth  

The skinny: Oilers GM Craig MacTavish improved his depth up front with the additions of Pouliot, Purcell and first-round draft pick (third overall) Leon Draisaitl, but will the defence be tough enough with Fayne and Nikitin added to the mix?

Capgeek.com says: Edmonton has 20 players under contract and $11.9-million in salary cap space 

Bodog.ca says: Odds for Oilers to make the playoffs, 2 to 1 

Montreal Canadiens

Last season: Finished ninth overall at 46-28-8, then beat Tampa Bay and Boston before the N.Y. Rangers got the better of the Habs in the East final

In with the new: G Joey MacDonald, D Tom Gilbert, C Manny Malholtra, RW PA Parenteau, RW Jiri Sekac

Out with the old: D Josh Gorges, C Ryan White, LW Thomas Vanek, RW/C Daniel Briere, RW Brian Gionta

The skinny: The Canadiens will miss the leadership void left by Gorges and Gionta, but they gain a sound faceoff man in Malhotra. Now the big task for Bergevin is to re-sign Subban and centre Lars Eller. The Canadiens' first-round selection, right wing Nikita Scherbak, likely will need more seasoning in junior with the Saskatoon Blades.   

Capgeek.com says: Montreal has 21 players under contract and $11.9-million in salary cap space

Bodog.ca says: Odds for the Canadiens to make the playoffs, 1 to 2

Ottawa Senators

Last season: Finished 25th overall at 37-31-14 and missed the playoffs for the third time in the last six seasons

In with the new: RW Alex Chiasson 

Out with the old: C Jason Spezza, RW Ales Hemsky 

The skinny: For the second straight year the Senators have lost their captain in the off-season. Spezza requested a trade and it will be difficult to replace his offensive production. But I'll just throw this out there: the Senators seemed to be a much better team in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign when Spezza was limited to five regular-season games and missed the first round of the playoffs due to back surgery.

Capgeek.com says: Ottawa has 22 players under contract and $18.7-million in salary cap space

Bodog.ca says: Odds for the Senators to make the playoffs, 5 to 6

Toronto Maple Leafs

Last season: Finished 23rd overall at 38-36-8 to miss the playoffs for the eighth time in the past nine years

In with the new: D Roman Polak, D Stephane Robidas, C Petri Kontiola, RW Matt Frattin, LW/C Leo Komarov, W Mike Santorelli

Out with the old: D Tim Gleason, D Carl Gunnarsson, C David Bolland, C Jay McClement, LW Mason Raymond

The skinny: The Maple Leafs became quicker and tougher by bringing back Frattin, Komarov and Polak, but have they improved enough to get them back to the playoffs? A lot may depend on head coach Randy Carlyle and if he can convince his players to perform the way they did in 2013 and whether or not prospects like defenceman Stuart Piercy and first-round pick (eighth overall) William Nylander are ready to make the next step.

Capgeek.com says: Toronto has 15 players under contract and $15.3-million in salary cap space

Bodog.ca says: Odds for the Maple Leafs to make the playoffs, 5 to 7

Vancouver Canucks

Last season: Finished 25th overall at 36-35-11 to end a five-year playoff run. The Canucks haven't won a playoff series since their trip to the 2011 Stanley Cup final

In with the new: G Ryan Miller, D Luca Sbisa, C Nick Bonino, RW Derek Dorsett, RW Linden Vey, RW Radim Vrbata

Out with the old: D Andrew Alberts, D Jason Garrison, C Ryan Kesler, C Mike Santorelli, C Zac Dalpe, LW David Booth

The skinny: Of the seven Canadian GMs, nobody has been busier than Canucks rookie GM Jim Benning. He's hired a new coach and altered his NHL roster with six additions. Of course, Kesler will be a huge loss, but if Bonino can continue to exhibit the progress he showed in Anaheim last season, Vrbata can keep scoring and Miller can enjoy another outstanding season, the Canucks may find their way back to the playoffs.  

Capgeek.com says: Vancouver has 20 players under contract and $6.8-million in salary cap space 

Bodog.ca says: Odds for Canucks to make the playoffs, 5 to 6

Winnipeg Jets

Last season: Finished 22nd overall at 37-35-10 and missed the playoffs for the seventh season in a row, if you count this organization's Atlanta years

In with the new: C Mathieu Perreault 

Out with the old: G Al Montoya, D Keaton Ellerby, D Zach Redmond, C Olli Jokinen, RW Matt Halischuk, RW Devin Setoguchi

The skinny: The Jets will be better with a full season from Mark Scheifele and the rise of young defenceman Jacob Trouba. Don't expect first-round pick (ninth overalll) Nikolaj Ehlers to make the team, but he did score 49 goals in 63 games in junior with Halifax last year. Another wild-card factor will be can goalie Michael Hutchison, defenceman Will O'Neill, right wing Andrew Gordon and centre Eric O'Dell can become bonafide NHLers after their dandy play in the St. John's IceCaps skate to the AHL Calder Cup final.

Capgeek.com says: Winnipeg has 20 players under contract and $13.6-million in salary cap space 

Bodog.ca says: Odds for the Jets to make the playoffs, 5 to 2

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