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Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele (L) celebrates his first period goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets with teammate forward Ben Maxwell (49) during the first period of NHL pre-season action in Winnipeg September 20, 2011. (FRED GREENSLADE/REUTERS)
Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele (L) celebrates his first period goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets with teammate forward Ben Maxwell (49) during the first period of NHL pre-season action in Winnipeg September 20, 2011. (FRED GREENSLADE/REUTERS)

A capsule look at the seven Canadian-based NHL teams Add to ...

D Scott Hannan, F Olli Jokinen, F Tom Kostopoulos, F Pierre-Luc Létourneau-Leblond, F David Moss, F Raitis Ivanans

Top prospect – Sven Baertschi

The hopes were already high for the 13th overall pick in the 2011 draft, but three goals in five games in a late-season callup last year sent the hype machine into overdrive. The Swiss winger has been similarly prolific in the AHL during the lockout, registering 18 points in 21 games, although he missed nearly five weeks with a neck/head injury.

NHLers abroad during lockout

D Anton Babchuk (HC Donbass, KHL), F Mikael Backlund (Vasteras, Sweden), F Roman Cervenka (Slavia Praha, Czech Republic), F Jiri Hudler (Lev Praha, KHL)

EDMONTON OILERS

2011-12: 32-40-10, missed playoffs for sixth consecutive season.

Top story

Given the calibre of young prospects coming through the Oilers’ pipeline these days, chemistry will be the name of the game for this team to return to the playoffs. In many ways, Edmonton will be ahead of the curve, having had forwards Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, along with free-agent defenceman Justin Schultz, developing on the farm club in Oklahoma City. The early returns have been good, with Eberle twice being named AHL player of the month and sitting just three points clear of the rookie Schultz in the overall scoring race. And if that wasn’t enough, they’ll be able to add first overall pick Nail Yakupov to the mix in Edmonton.

Say hello to …

D Justin Schultz

Say goodbye to …

D Cam Barker, D Taylor Chorney, F Josh Green

Top prospect – Justin Schultz

The Oilers were falling over themselves for the chance to sign the former Anaheim Ducks draft pick last summer. After a standout career at the University of Wisconsin, the defenceman decided to take his talents to Edmonton and the results have been spectacular. With 18 goals and 30 assists in 34 games, the rookie has flirted with the AHL scoring lead for much of the season and has to be confident about taking his first steps at the next level.

NHLers abroad during lockout

F Sam Gagner (Klagenfurter AC, Austria), F Ales Hemsky (Pardubice, Czech Republic), F Lennart Petrell (HIFK, Finland), D Corey Potter (Vienna, Austria), D Ladislav Smid (Bili Tygri Liberec, Czech Republic), F Nail Yakupov (Neftekhimik, KHL)

VANCOUVER CANUCKS

2011-12: 51-22-9, lost in first round of playoffs.

Top story

After back-to-back Presidents’ Trophies, the Canucks are still amongst the NHL’s elite, but the Stanley Cup window won’t stay open forever. Last year’s first-round playoff exit to the Kings showed the importance of having both Sedins fit and healthy, and even with the Roberto Luongo soap opera yet to play itself out, Vancouver’s time to win is now.

Say hello to …

D Jason Garrison, D Derek Joslin

Say goodbye to …

F Byron Bitz, F Sami Pahlsson, F Steven Reinprecht, D Aaron Rome, D Sami Salo, F Mark Mancari

Top prospect – Zack Kassian

The principal return in last season’s Cody Hodgson trade to Buffalo, Kassian was not the missing piece that the Canucks felt they had to have to win the Stanley Cup. While he is undoubtedly a tougher competitor than Hodgson, his three-point return in 17 games following the trade did little to improve the public opinion on the deal, and though he’s still young, the onus is now on Kassian to prove that he was worth the gamble.

NHLers abroad during lockout

F Jannik Hansen (Tappara, Finland)

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