Frank Seravalli: Canucks have best chance to end Canada’s Cup drought

Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

TSN’s Frank Seravalli explained why he thinks the Vancouver Canucks are the best bet to end Canada’s 27-year Stanley Cup drought.

Dating back to 2008, the Vancouver Canucks are the only team that got somewhat close to ending Canada’s frustrating 27-year Stanley Cup drought.

The 2020-21 season will have marked 10 years (the 2010-11 Canucks) since a Canadian team last reached the Stanley Cup Final. That Vancouver team, of course, went all the way to Game 7, where they fell 4-0 on home ice to the Boston Bruins.

The 2013-14 Montreal Canadiens advanced to the Eastern Conference Final before falling to the New York Rangers in six games. The 2016-17 Ottawa Senators were one goal away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final, but they fell in double overtime of Game 7 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And finally, the 2017-18 Winnipeg Jets went all the way to the Western Conference Final before losing soundly to the Vegas Golden Knights in five games.

Zero Canadian teams reached the second round of the playoffs last year. The 2019-20 Canucks fell just one game short of the Western Conference Final, dropping a 3-0 heartbreaker to Vegas in Game 7.

And so, Canada’s Stanley Cup drought will hit 28 years by the time the 2021 playoffs begin.

It’s hard to envision the rebuilding Senators or retooling Canadiens ending the drought any time soon. The Jets, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs have plenty of star power in tact, but they always underachieve come playoff time.

TSN’s Frank Seravalli made a very strong case as to why head coach Travis Green and company are best positioned to do end Canada’s drought:

"“The Canucks can now stake a country-wide claim as the team closest to ending Canada’s 27-year Stanley Cup drought…They have a superstar forward in Elias Pettersson, who is second only to Connor McDavid in points per game in his first two NHL seasons among this current crop of young stars.They have an engine in centre Bo Horvat, the captain who showed he is not only the heartbeat of the team but has plenty of skill to go along with it.They have an elite No. 1 defenceman in Quinn Hughes, the Calder Trophy finalist who defines the modern-day mobile blueliner and smashed rookie playoff assist records in two rounds.They have quality goaltending, whether it’s pending free agent and team MVP Jacob Markstrom or up-and-comer (Thatcher) Demko, the pedigreed So-Cal kid with ice in his veins, paired with another veteran free agent.They have top-flight wingers in Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller, who might have been 2019’s best off-season acquisition. They have structure from Green, who did a masterful job making adjustments between playoff games. Perhaps most importantly, this Canucks team competes – as evidenced by their fight to get to Game 7 against a better Golden Knights team.”"

Seravalli also cited Vancouver’s deep prospect pool that includes forwards Vasily Podkolzin and Nils Hoglander plus blueliners Jalen Chatfield, Jack Rathbone and Olli Juolevi.

“The Canucks’ window is just cracking open,” Seravalli said.

Among all seven Canadian teams, the Canucks are unquestionably the most complete. Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto have major goaltending woes that must be addressed. The latter two clubs, like the Jets, desperately need upgrades in the bottom-six and on defence. Cap woes and limited trade chips will prevent them from filling all those holes.

But as Seravalli pointed out, the Canucks are loaded with forwards and rising superstar defenceman Quinn Hughes. They have a comfortable goaltending situation, and more help via the prospect pool is on the way.

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There are no guarantees in the NHL, but when you put all the pieces together, it’s safe to say that the Canucks are considerably ahead of every other Canadian team in the quest to end this country’s Stanley Cup drought.