Sportsnet’s Brian Burke was tasked with ranking all of the Canadian NHL clubs during the first intermission of the Vegas Golden Knights versus Dallas Stars game on Saturday. Needless to say, some of his picks are going to strike up some debate and conversation.
Burke admitted that he knew his picks might not sit well with a lot of fans but he said, “I had five experts help me with this, NHL management and coaches, but I’m not going to name them so their social media doesn’t blow up like mine’s going to blow up.”
Here’s how he ranked them:
No. 7 Out Of 7: Ottawa Senators
“This takes guts what they’re doing in Ottawa,” Burke started. He said the team is stripping things totally down to the chassis citing that they’ve cleaned the cupboards and have loaded up with the picks, essentially starting over from scratch.
Ottawa has 13 picks in this year’s draft, they have bunch of prospects coming up the pipeline, but noted that GM Pierre Dorion has got to hit home runs on those first two picks in the first round of this year’s draft for this whole plan to be a success.
Burke said the franchise has lost lost character people has been a problem there. That needs to be addressed.
No. 6 of 7: Montreal Canadiens
Saying the Canadiens need scoring wingers and that they too need to hit home runs on their many draft picks, they got some good playoff experience with a couple good centers emerging.
No. 4 and 5 of 7: Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames
Burke said the Jets and Flames were tied and he listed the teams in alphabetical order when describing their needs.
Saying the Winnipeg Jets need to upgrade their defense, Burke said he believed Travis Hamonic could wind up in Winnipeg. He added they need to rebuild their defense and find a second-string goalie. They also don’t have enough secondary scoring.
Calgary’s top problem is their goaltending and their defense is suspect with so many defensemen possibly not coming back. Burke said that needed to be addressed but noted the Flames have a pretty solid group of forwards.
No. 3 of 7: Vancouver Canucks
Burke knew that people in Vancouver would freak out since he ranked them at No. 3 and they went farther than any other Canadian team this season, but also said he didn’t care.
Burke noted the Canucks have some cap issues and buy out with Sven Baertschi is likely. But he did admit they’ve got nice top-six forwards and the second-best one-two punch in the Western Conference. But, the team needs to re-sign Jacob Markstrom and Chris Tanev as both are too important to the team and the Canucks can’t rely on Thatcher Demko or youngsters on defense to get them to the next level.
No. 2 of 7: Edmonton Oilers
Saying they’ve go the best one-two punch in the NHL (on the planet) with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, Burke said the team needs to upgrade their blue line and make a decision at the goaltending position. He noted the Oilers are probably looking at the decision to acquire Andreas Athanasiou and calling it a mistake.
He said Ethan Bear was a revelation on the blue line but they need to figure out little pieces throughout their lineup.
No. 1 of 7: Toronto Maple Leafs
Burke said that the team has a wonderful crop of forwards in their top six and they are set in net (a bit surprising considering rumors of a Frederik Andersen trade).
They do need to upgrade their defense and turn some of their talent up front into help on the blue line. He added that Kyle Clifford needs to be brought back in his opinion.
So, what do you think? Is Burke way out to lunch? Did he ignore too many of the things happening in some of these cities when it comes to potential trades and rumors surrounding certain players?
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