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Which Team Has the Best Shot at Bringing the Cup Back to Canada?

A Canadian team hasn't won the Cup since Montreal in 1993. With potentially as many as eight Canadian teams soon, it's only a matter of time before the Cup is raised again in Canada. Right?
Photo by Darryl Dyck-The Canadian Press

This story originally appeared on VICE Sports Canada.

It's been 22 years since a Canadian franchise won the Stanley Cup. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings in five games behind the goaltending of Patrick Roy, who now coaches a team that didn't exist at the time.

It's been a while. When will it happen again, if ever?

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Here are some things that have happened since the Canadiens won the Cup in 1993:

  • The NHL has gone from 24 teams to 30.
  • Kimmo Timonen, Paul Kariya, Chris Drury, Daniel Alfredsson and Tim Thomas were all drafted and have since retired.
  • Dougie Hamilton was born eight days after the Canadiens won. He is now on his second NHL team.
  • The Winnipeg Jets relocated to Arizona and were reborn in Manitoba under new ownership.
  • "My wife left me" has been tweeted approximately 8 billion times.

There has also been seven new James Bond movies released since 1993 with an eighth on the way this year, which is reminiscent of the current situation of Canadian franchises in the NHL; there are seven, and there may be an eighth joining the league in Quebec City in a couple years.

With potentially as many as eight Canadian teams soon, it's only a matter of time before the Cup is raised again in Canada.


It should happen sooner than later. Five of the seven franchises qualified for the playoffs in 2015 and most are pointed in the right direction. But which team has the best odds of being the next club to win the Cup for Canada?

Here is each team's chances with prospect rankings from Hockey's Future and average team age from NHL Numbers:

8. Vancouver Canucks

Last playoff appearance: 2015, lost in first round

Prospect ranking: 15th

Average age: 27.843

Situation: Remember those Calgary Flames teams of a few years ago that refused to trade Jarome Iginla until his value was next to nothing? The ones that kept clinging to the idea of snagging a playoff spot but always fell short? That's where the Canucks are heading. Ryan Miller and the Sedins are 35 while Radim Vrbata and Alex Burrows are 34 and there's not much coming behind them. At least Luca Sbisa and Derek Dorsett are locked up.


Odds: 30-1

7. Quebec City Fightin' Quebecois

Last playoff appearance: N/A

Prospect ranking: N/A

Average age: N/A

Situation: That's right—a team that may never exist has better Cup chances than the Canucks. Whether the Fightin' Quebecois (it's a good nickname, please consider it) arrive in 2016-17 or 2017-18, they will probably be in a better spot than the Canucks, who will likely be hanging on to the Sedins for relevance with their fans. Hopefully, Jaromir Jagr will get to play for this team. Heck, maybe he'll be on a line with the Sedins.

Odds: 23-1

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6. Toronto Maple Leafs

Last playoff appearance: 2013, lost in first round, it was 4-1

Prospect ranking: 20th

Average age: 27.9

Situation: Nothing says "we're in this for the long haul" like giving a new coach an eight-year contract. Toronto is all about replenishing a depleted farm system and laying a foundation. The Leafs are essentially a bunch of college kids that just took off on a cross-country road trip—they may run out of gas, drive the car off the road or get sidetracked by partying in American cities, but they are headed in the right direction and may be starting an adventure no one will forget.

Odds: 20-1

5. Ottawa Senators

Last playoff appearance: 2015, lost in first round

Prospect ranking: 26th

Average age: 26.5

Situation: As fun as it was to watch Andrew Hammond catch lightning in a bottle and Curtis Lazar eat hamburgers off the ice, the Senators feel like a tweener. They've got great young talent either in their primes or entering them with Erik Karlsson, Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris, Mark Stone, Mika Zibanejad and Mike Hoffman, but there's not much around them. Craig Anderson is 34 and the 27-year-old Hammond could turn into a pumpkin at any moment. The Senators look like a perennial playoff contender that's still a ways away from challenging for the Cup.


Odds: 10-1

4. Calgary Flames

Last playoff appearance: 2015, lost in second round

Prospect ranking: 11th

Average age: 27.1

Situation: Let's be clear—the 2014-15 Flames were a PDO-fuelled fever dream, a team that flourished thanks to a lucky run that would make Richard Dreyfuss in Let It Ride drop his jaw. But they will have Hamilton, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie for the next five years, a core that's plenty good enough to contend over that time. The problem is depth and goaltending—Jonas Hiller is 33 and Karri Ramo is 29 and below average. If the Flames ever get to be lucky and good, they will be a true threat in the coming years.

Odds: 8-1

3. Winnipeg Jets

Last playoff appearance: 2015, lost in first round

Prospect ranking: 1st

Average age: 26.5

Situation: The theme here is the same with the previous team on this list—great young core and goaltending that will kill you with little help in sight. Ondrej Pavelec had a career year in 2014-15 with a .920 save percentage, then allowed 15 goals in four games in the playoffs. Is Michael Hutchinson or prospect Connor Hellebuyck the answer? Maybe. The next two years are practically dead ones with Pavelec under contract, but if the Jets can get a reliable, consistent goaltender, they will be fighting for a Cup in the near future.

Odds: 6-1

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2. Edmonton Oilers

Last playoff appearance: 2006, lost in Stanley Cup Final

Prospect ranking: 16th


Average age: 26.3

Situation: How many times can we, as a society, be fooled into thinking the Oilers are about to turn the corner and become a perennial contender loaded with No. 1 overall picks? We are basically Charlie Brown trying to kick the football. But look at what they have now—a coach and general manager that did not play for any 1980s Oilers teams, and Connor McDavid. The current state of Edmonton's goaltending (Cam Talbot, Anders Nilsson) is as terrifying as its defense, but the Oilers are loaded down the middle and may have the NHL's best player in a few years in McDavid.

Odds: 4-1

1. Montreal Canadiens

Last playoff appearance: 2015, lost in second round

Prospect ranking: 14th

Average age: 27.0

Situation: The Habs have the best chance right now to win a Cup. They have a franchise goaltender (Carey Price), defenceman (PK Subban) and forward (Max Pacioretty) and they are all 28 or younger. They are deep in all areas and clearly Canada's favourites to start the 2015-16 season. The development of Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller will play a big role, as will GM Marc Bergevin, who probably needs to add one more big piece to put the team over the top. It could happen this year. It will probably take a coach other than Michel Therrien to get it done, though.

Odds: 2-1