Stanley Cup playoffs set to feature 5 Canadian teams after year without any

Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary all in; Leafs on doorstep

Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers breaks free from Phillip Danault of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on February 5, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

At this time last year it was clear the Stanley Cup playoffs would not feature a Canadian team for the first time since 1970. 

What a difference a year makes.

The Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames have all clinched a spot this year. The Toronto Maple Leafs are just a win away from making sure five of seven Canadian NHL teams make the playoffs. 

What makes this even more interesting are the make-ups of these teams. The Oilers, Flames, Senators and Leafs are teams full of young talent such as Connor McDavid, Johnny Gaudreau, Auston Matthews, Mark Stone, Erik Karlsson, and the list goes on. These teams and their young stars represent the future of not only Canadian NHL teams but the league overall. 

Meanwhile, the Canadiens have the best goalie in hockey, Carey Price, and a list of their own young studs such as Alex Galchenyuk, Phillip Danault and Nathan Beaulieu. 

This is what drafting well gets you. These are teams with depth built through the draft. There is no reason to think any of these five teams won't be even better next season and the next five. It's an exciting time for Canadian hockey fans. 

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