Nobody in the world loves hockey as much as Canada. Canada has a population of 34 million and 7 NHL teams and they could easily support more! For comparisons sake, California has 39 million people with 3 NHL teams.
So what are the Canadian NHL teams? There are seven NHL teams located in Canada. From the date of their first NHL season the seven teams are: Montreal Canadians (1917), Toronto Maple Leafs (1917), Vancouver Canucks (1970), Edmonton Oilers (1979), Calgary Flames (1980), Ottawa Senators (1992), and Winnipeg Jets (2011).
Let’s take a closer look at all seven teams and some of the important dates, players, retired jerseys, and the Stanley Cups that each of them have.
As well, you will see that there is one thing that no Canadian team has done since 1993.Embed from Getty Images
- Founded: 1972 as Atlanta Flames; first year in Calgary 1980-81
- Arena: Scotiabank Saddledome 19,289
- Stanley Cups: 1989
- Hall of Famers: Lanny McDonald, Joe Mullen, Grant Fuhr, Al MacInnis, Brett Hull, Doug Gilmour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Sergei Makarov, Martin St. Louis
- Retired Numbers: Lanny McDonald 9, Jarome Iginla 12, Mike Vernon G
- NHL Playoff Appearances: 29
- Franchise Scoring Leaders: Points: Jarome Iginla 1095, Goals: Jarome Iginla 525, Assists: Al MacInnis 609
Highlights and Current State of the Flames
The highpoint of the Flames franchise is undoubtedly winning the Stanley Cup in 1989. The win was highlighted by Hall-of-Famer Lanny McDonald playing his last game in the NHL and leaving on top after scoring a huge goal in the cup clinching game.
Well, since 1989, well….. (insert cricket sounds here). Well, outside of their Stanley Cup run in 2004, where they lost to the Lightning in 7 games, and Jarome Iginla there has not been much to cheer about.
All of the other years combined (outside of 2004) the Flames have won one playoff series. You read that right – one playoff series.
Who are the Calgary Flames? Nobody really knows.
Two years ago they were the second best team in the Western Conference, but last year they just missed the playoffs. They have fired head coach Darryl Sutter who brought a toxic environment to the team as they played below their talent level.
They have a solid team – lots of depth and a really good defence. However, they will probably struggle to score. My prediction is they are a playoff bubble team – they will either just barely make the playoffs or just miss it.
- Founded: 1971 1972-1979 WHA; first NHL season 1979-80
- Arena: Rogers Place 18,500
- Stanley Cups: 5 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990
- Hall of Famers: Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, Adam Oates, Jacques Plante, Chris Pronger, Norm Ullman
- Retired Numbers: Al Hamilton (3), Paul Coffey (7), Glenn Anderson (9), Mark Messier (11), Jari Kuri (17), Grant Fuhr (31), Wayne Gretzky (99)
- NHL Playoff Appearances: 21
- Franchise Scoring Leaders: Points: Wayne Gretzky 1773, Goals: Wayne Gretzky 626, Assists: Wayne Gretzky 1147
Highlights and Current State of the Oilers
Edmonton’s glory years were in the 1980s. They had Wayne Gretzky and a bunch of other Hall of Famers – Mark Messier, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey etc. The 1980s Oilers were probably the greatest NHL team ever assembled. During that time and adding one more in 1990 they won 5 Stanley Cups.
Well, since 1990, well…. (insert cricket sounds here). Well, they have struggled much like their rival Calgary Flames and have had limited success. They made a Stanley Cup run in 2006, but that ended in a game 7 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
They were so bad in the last decade that they had four 1st overall draft picks. Luckily one of those picks was the best player in the world, Connor McDavid.
Now it is Stanley Cup or bust. It is not just me saying it, but the Oilers are themselves saying it. Nothing short of a Stanley Cup will be a disappointment.
It is easy to see why they say this as they have the best player in the world (Conner McDavid) and another top 5 player (Leon Draisaitl). McDavid and Draisaitl are in the prime of their careers, they have surrounded them with a decent cast of complementary players.
For the Oilers it really is now or never.
- Founded: 1909 as member of NHA; 1917 as part of NHL
- Arena: Centre Bell 21, 273
- Stanley Cups: 23
- Hall of Famers: 55
- Retired Numbers: Jacques Plantes (1), Doug Harvey (2), Emile Bouchard (3), Jean Beliveau (4), Bernie Geoffrion (5), Guy Lapointe (5), Howie Morenz (7), Maurice Richard (9), Guy Lafleur (10), Dickie Moore (12), Yvan Cournoyer (12), Henri Richard (16), Elmer Lach (16), Serge Savard (18), Larry Robinson (19), Bob Gainey (23), Ken Dryden (29), Patrick Roy (33)
- NHL Playoff Appearances: 83
- Franchise Scoring Leaders: Points: Guy Lafleur 1,246 Goals: Maurice Richard: 544 Assists: Guy Lafleur 728
Highlights and Current State of the Canadiens
Montreal is the center of the hockey universe: The game was invented around Montreal; the first team games and tournaments were played there; and the NHL was founded there in 1917.
Along with all of that, they have won the most Stanley Cups (by far) at 24. They are the most winning hockey team ever, and it will be tough to pass.
With all of the deep history that the Canadiens have there is a deep love amongst the fans and if there is ever a place you want to go and watch hockey it would be at the Bell Center on a Saturday night.
The current state of the Montreal Canadiens is not so glamorous. After making a surprise run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2021 they have quickly fallen on hard times. Since then they have traded away a number of their best players, and the best of them Carey Price will never play again due to injury.
The team is in a full rebuild mode, and it will probably take 3-5 years to get back to respectability. The beginning of the rebuild has started off nicely two drafts ago with 1st overall pick Jaroslav Slafkovsky, but don’t let that fool you. Rebuilds are long and slow and Montreal is just beginning.
Look for them to have another high-end draft pick at the end of the year. And, probably for a few more years after this.
- Founded: 1992 (no relation to Ottawa Senators of 1917-34)
- Arena: Canadian Tire Centre 19,153
- Stanley Cups: 0
- Hall of Famers: Dominik Hasek
- Retired Numbers: Frank Finnigan (8), Daniel Alfredsson (11), Chris Phillips (4)
- NHL Playoff Appearances: 16
- Franchise Scoring Leaders: Points: Daniel Alfredsson 1,108 Goals: Daniel Alfredsson 426, Assists: Daniel Alfredsson 682
Highlights and Current State of the Senators
The Ottawa Senators have won 11 Stanley Cups … well, not these Ottawa Senators. There was an original Ottawa Senators that started pre-NHL, were part of the NHL and then folded in 1934 after they had moved to St. Louis for one year.
This current version of the Ottawa Senators has no affiliation with those Ottawa Senators, according to both them and the NHL.
This version of the Ottawa Senators came into the league in 1996 and the highlight for them was their Stanley Cup appearance in 2007. They had a good enough team to win a Stanley Cup back then, but never put it together.
The Ottawa Senators are coming out of a rebuild – or so they hope. It is always hard to know but they have done an admiral job building quality NHLers around their young core of players. With the additions of Claude Giroux and Jakob Chychrun look for the Senators to push for a playoff spot.
Tim Stutzle looks like he is the real deal and could enter into a top 20 NHL player this year. As well, with Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot, Jake Sanderson, and Josh Norris the team is stacked with young talent.
They will definitely push for a playoff spot, but can they get over the hump in their difficult decision?
Toronto Maple Leafs
- Founded: 1917 (formerly Arenas, and St. Patrick’s)
- Arena: Scotiabank Arena 18,819
- Stanley Cups: 13
- Hall of Famers: 61
- Retired Numbers: Turk Broda (1), Johnny Bower (1), Hap Day (4), Red Kelly (4), Bill Barilko (5), Ace Bailey (6), King Clancy (7), Tim Horton (7), Charlie Conacher (9), Ted Kennedy (9), Syl Apps (10), George Armstrong (10), Mats Sundin (13), Dave Keon (14), Wendel Clark (17), Borje Salming (21) Frank Mahovlich (27), Darryl Sittler (27), Doug Gilmour (93)
- NHL Playoff Appearances: 68
- Franchise Scoring Leaders: Points: Mats Sundin 987, Goals: Mats Sundin 420, Assists: Borje Salming 620
Highlights and Current State of the Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the Original 4 teams who made up the NHL when it was founded in 1917. They have won a lot of Stanley Cups. In fact, they have won 13 of them.
However, the problem is that the last Stanley Cup they won was in 1967. They officially have the longest Stanley Cup drought of any NHL team at 54 years and counting. When they last won there were still only 6 teams in the NHL.
They currently have a very good team led by superstar Auston Matthews. The main problem is that they play in an extremely competitive division. To advance in the Stanley Cup finals they will have to beat one (probably 2) of Tampa (who have won the past 2 Stanley Cups), Boston, or Florida.
But, in the past 54 years this is definitely one of the best, if not the best team the Leafs have had. Their forwards are fantastic, although a little weak on the backend. This could be the year that the Leafs win the division as the two Florida teams and Boston could take a step back.
New General Manager Brad Treliving has added in toughness to the lineup – lets see if that helps them get over the proverbial playoff hump.
- Founded: 1999 (as Atlanta Thrashers) 2011 Winnipeg Jets
- Arena: Bell MTS Place, 16,345
- Stanley Cups: 0
- Hall of Famers: 0
- Retired Numbers: 0
- NHL Playoff Appearances: 4
- Franchise Scoring Leaders: Points: Ilya Kovalchuk 615, Goals: Ilya Kovalchuk 328, Assists: Blake Wheeler 390
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Highlights and Current State of the Jets
The current version of the Winnipeg Jets is actually the second version of the Winnipeg Jets.
The first version of the Winnipeg Jets was from 1972-1996 and they started in the WHA before being absorbed into the NHL in 1979. Those Jets would eventually relocate to Phoenix in 1996 and are now the Arizona Coyotes.
Those Jets and all of their records and history belong to the Arizona Coyotes, and have no affiliation or connection with the current Winnipeg Jets.
The current version of the Winnipeg Jets actually started in Atlanta as the Thrashes in 1999 before moving to Winnipeg to become the Jets in 2011.
This version of the Jets has all of the records and history that was first established with Atlanta.
The current version of the Jets has not won a Stanley Cup or even been to a Stanley Cup finals. They have had above average teams for the past few years, but have not quite reached the Stanley Cup contender status as of yet.
Last year was a disappointment for the Jets as they just made the playoffs. However, once there they got thoroughly beaten by the Vegas Golden Knights.
It seems like the Jets are stuck in that proverbial mushy middle – not good enough to be a Stanley Cup contender; not bad enough to get a high-end draft pick.
With bounce back seasons from Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele the Jets should return to old form. However, I think what is more likely is that the Jets enter into a rebuild after (or during) this season.
- Founded: 1970
- Arena: Rogers Arena 18,910
- Stanley Cups: 0
- Hall of Famers: Igor Larionov, Mark Messier, Cam Neely, Pavel Bure, Mats Sundin
- Retired Numbers: Pavel Bure (10), Stan Smyl (12), Trevor Linden (16), Markus Naslund (19)
- NHL Playoff Appearances: 27
- Franchise Scoring Leaders: Points: Henrik Sedin 1,070 Goals: Daniel Sedin 393, Assists: Henrik Sedin 830
Highlights and Current State of the Canucks
Vancouver has very passionate fans. They have a history that includes a lot of great things to cheer about, however one of those things is not a Stanley Cup. They are one of the 11 teams who have never won the Stanley Cup.
They have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals on 3 separate occasions – losing twice in Game 7!
They have had amazing players come through their door – Trevor Linden, Daniel and Hendrik Sedin, Marcus Naslund – but have not been able to put together a championship team.
The current Canucks are a middle of the road team. They have some good young players (Quinn Hughes, Elias Pettersson, Thatcher Demko), but need to fill out the roster with some better defensemen and depth – this has been said for a few years.
Rick Tocchet came in as a new coach last year and had a positive effect on the team. He will look to carry that into this year. Look for the Canucks to be a playoff bubble team, at best. If everything goes right they may squeak into the playoffs.
The Pain of all Canadian Teams
The one common sore spot of all the Canadian teams is that none of them have won the Stanley Cup since 1993. Yes, the Montreal Canadiens were the the last team to win the Stanley Cup in 1993!
This is a much talked about point in Canada every year the Stanley Cup playoffs start – is this the year that a Canadian team will finally win the cup?Embed from Getty Images
Defunct Canadian NHL teams
These are teams in Canada that have played in the NHL but no longer exist. Note: Yes, there is another Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets.
The original Ottawa Senators were from 1917-1934. The newest version of the Ottawa Senators shares only the team name with the old version and new records or Stanley Cups is deemed by either the team or the NHL to have carried over.
The original Winnipeg Jets moved to become the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes. Winnipeg then get an NHL franchise again when the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg in 2011. Winnipeg renamed them to the Jets. There is no affiliation between the two Jets teams.
The Senators, Nordiques and Jets played in subsequent leagues before they started playing in the NHL. The dates below reflect when they entered the NHL.
- Ottawa Senators (1917-1934) Relocated to become the St. Louis Eagles, which subsequently folded
- Quebec Nordiques (1979-1995) Relocated to become the Colorado Avalanche
- Hamilton Tigers (1920-25) Players contracts sold to New York Americans
- Winnipeg Jets (1979-1996) Relocated to become Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes
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Text List of Canadian NHL Teams
(Just in case you need to cut and paste it for something)
Toronto Maple Leafs
Do you want to know about the American NHL teams? Check out our American NHL teams article to get the background and analysis for all 25 American teams!