Woe Canada: Where will the Canadiens, Senators and Canucks go from here?
The 2021 offseason was a time of optimism for fans of Canadian teams. Each of the franchises which had temporarily cohabitated in the North Division during the shortened season made a number of personnel changes and additions with the aim of taking the next step and starting to really compete.
This wasn’t exclusive to contenders like the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Edmonton Oilers, but even the clubs that found themselves closer to the bottom of the standings in 2020-21. The Vancouver Canucks made the gutsiest move, clearing out the ugliest parts of their payroll and a decent amount of draft capital to acquire Conor Garland and Oliver Ekman-Larsson from the Arizona Coyotes.
The Montréal Canadiens, undeterred by the departures of franchise mainstays Phillip Danault, Tomas Tatar and Shea Weber, doubled down on what got them to the Cup Finals in the spring: toughness on defence, two-way centres and a lengthy extension for rising star Nick Suzuki.
Even Ottawa Senators fans were encouraged by the prospect of continued development for young players. After all, the team performed quite well down the stretch after a horrid start.
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