Morning Skate: Please hug a Canadian NHL fan today

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Lace ’em up. Time for the Morning Skate.

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WOE, CANADA

With one final shootout goal by Philadelphia Flyers forward Sam Gagner, the Ottawa Senators were eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoffs contention on Wednesday.

Along with the rest of Canada.

Yes, for the first time since 1970, no Canadian NHL team will play in the postseason. Instead of wallowing in sorrow and sympathy, let’s rank the Canadian teams by likelihood of reaching the postseason next year.

1. Montreal Canadiens

I’m much more inclined to think of this season as a fluke than the beginning of a trend.

2. Winnipeg Jets

The Jets have as much blue-chip talent in the pipeline as any other team in the Western Conference, and could make a run with an infusion of that talent.

3. Ottawa Senators

Erik Karlsson.

4. Calgary Flames

Either that 2015 playoff appearance or this year of regression is the fluke. It’s probably the former.

5. Toronto Maple Leafs

William Nylander, Mitch Marner and the other young guns will be fun to watch, but the rebuild should continue.

6. Vancouver Canucks

If Jim Benning is smart, he’ll hit the rebuild panic button by December.

7. Edmonton Oilers

Keep Connor McDavid in your thoughts and prayers.

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Article source: http://www.sbnation.com/2016/3/31/11336952/morning-skate-canada-nhl-stanley-cup-playoffs-senators

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