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BRIAN BURKE DIVIDES FANS BY RANKING THE SEVEN CANADIAN NHL TEAMS

There's nothing that can get NHL fans arguing like a list that ranks, well, just about anything in the league. Former hockey executive and now Sportsnet analyst Brian Burke did just that Saturday night by ranking the seven Canadian NHL teams in order from best to worst.

There's likely not much controversy over the team Burke ranked seventh, or worst. The Ottawa Senators are in the midst of another rebuild after trading away enough big names to possibly be a contender, or at least consistently make the playoffs. The Sens have not made the playoffs since making it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016-17. At the time, the team included names like Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone, etc.

Ditto on who Burke placed in the second to last spot. The Montreal Canadiens were on track to miss the playoffs for the third straight year, but ended up getting included in the NHL's 24-team Return to Play format, upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins in the qualifying round before getting eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers. The Habs have prospects in the pipes. But, other pieces will need to be added before the team could be considered anything close to a contender.



Here's where it gets sticky. The team that Burke placed at the top of the heap is one he served as general manager of for close to five years, the Toronto Maple Leafs. On paper, the Leafs have an excellent offensive team. On the ice, Toronto has not made it out of the first-round of the playoffs since 2003-04, despite adding big names like Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and others. In fact, the team lost in the qualifying round to Columbus this season, technically failing to even make the first round.

In second place, Burke placed the Edmonton Oilers, another team that has had very little playoff success in recent years despite having the player many consider the best of the modern era in Connor McDavid. Edmonton lost in the qualifying round to the Chicago Blackhawks this season, one of the last teams to make it into the 24-team Return to Play program.

In third place was the Vancouver Canucks, a team that likely should have placed higher given the fact that the Canucks made it to the second round of the this year's playoffs and took Vegas to seven games before being eliminated. Calgary and Winnipeg tied for fourth place, according to Burke.

The bottom line is there would have been disagreements regardless of what team placed where. That said, many will agree that Toronto and Edmonton should have been lower, while Vancouver should have been higher. The bottom two, in my eyes anyway, are bang on.

TIM TUCKER
SEPTEMBER 13, 2020  (9H26)
QUIZ ON TRADERUMOURS
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Which actor played the role of Soldier William Hudson in the 1986 movie "Aliens" ?
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