ANALYSIS: Is this the season for some excitement around Canada’s NHL teams? – Winnipeg |

ANALYSIS: Is this the season for some excitement around Canada’s NHL teams? – Winnipeg |

By John Shannon CJOB

Posted October 6, 2023 9:10 am

First of all, I am not going to sweat a loss — any loss — in the preseason. These are practice games.

In fact, in being very impressed with the Ottawa Senators Thursday night, it prompted me to be quite excited about Canada’s teams in the NHL. There is a very good chance that every team located in the Great White North will, in fact, have more points in the standings than they did last season.

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On Thursday night, we caught a glimpse of what the Senators can be. They have a group of young, fast stars — ones who are under contract for a long time too. They will put a scare into many teams in the East, and could vie for a playoff spot.

PRESEASON: The show where everything is made up and the points don’t matter!#GoJetsGo |

— Winnipeg Jets (@NHLJets) October 6, 2023

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And while Montreal won’t be in any playoff races in the new year, they will be better. They, too, have a group of young players like Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki and will push teams as they rebuild.

Toronto should be the best team in the East. They should go a long way in the playoffs and should be a Cup contender … but it’s Toronto, and something has to go wrong. Even so, by 82 games, they should be atop the Atlantic Division.

In Alberta, both the Flames and the Oilers know that improvement is a must: the Flames, to return to the post-season; and the Oilers, to be the West’s best team. The pressure, in both cities, is on the players to respond.

As well, in Vancouver, the Canucks can’t get any worse and finally, the team is starting to reflect the plan that Jim Rutherford has been trying to put into place, while being handcuffed by the cap.

And finally, the Jets. They are deeper and faster than they were last year. And they know playing at a consistently high level will put them in the post-season much sooner than the last week of the season, like last year.

All seven Canadian teams could, indeed, be better. Maybe not all in the playoffs, but better. I can’t remember that being the case ever before … and it could lead to the beginning of a golden era for Canadian teams in the NHL, and ending the 30-year Stanley Cup drought we’ve had in our country.

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Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Jets insider Jamie Thomas on training camp'

Winnipeg Jets insider Jamie Thomas on training camp

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