Toronto Maple Leafs: Eye on the Enemy, Part Three

MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 25: Shea Weber
MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 25: Shea Weber /

Let’s take a brief look at the Toronto Maple Leafs divisional competition, the Montreal Canadiens.

For the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Canadiens are more than just competition.

The two teams make up one of the greatest rivalries in sports, let alone hockey.

Think about it for a second, the divide between English and French-speaking Canadians, it was real.

Remember The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier?

It’s about more than just a rivalry in hockey, folks.

Anyways, here’s the third installment of my seven-part series where we take a look into the Atlantic Division for the 2017-18 season.

We’ve already covered the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Ottawa Senators, both of which I believe will be the most competitive other than the Leafs.

Naturally, the Canadiens have to be in that discussion, so here we are.

Remember that at the end of each article, I’ll make a prediction for where I think the team of conversation will land in the standings by the end of the regular season.

Onto the team.

Montreal Canadiens

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What an odd team, eh?

Seriously, they’re quite inconsistent.

Despite losing Alexander Radulov, they still have a pretty solid group up front.

Between Alex Galchenyuk, Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher and newly acquired dipsy doodler Jonathan Drouin, they have firepower.

They also have that little pest in Gallagher, but that’s beside the point.

Even some of their less talked about players like Andrew Shaw, Paul Byron, and Phillip Danault can be a problem for opposing teams.

Tomas Plekanec is like a slightly worse version of Tyler Bozak in the faceoff department but the two are pretty similar pointwise.

If we average Bozak’s projected point total, he’ll end up with 578 by 921 (Plekanec’s career games played) career games played.

Plekanec’s at 581 points in that amount of games, so that’s pretty darn close.

Would you look at that, Andrew did some math.


Let’s meander over to the backend where the intimidating Shea Weber resides.

Seriously, this guy packs a punch.

Take a look at his shot victims list from 2016 on.

  • January 26, 2016 – Eric Nystrom (broken foot)
  • March 2, 2016 – Kari Lehtonen (groin)
  • April 19, 2016 – Frederik Andersen (mask)
  • May 2, 2016 – Marc-Edouard Vlasic (forehead)
  • October 24, 2016 – Brayden Schenn (stick)
  • November 13, 2016 – Max Pacioretty (face)
  • January 3, 2017 – Pacioretty (leg)
  • January 4, 2017 – Gallagher (hand)

The list that’s linked above has 13 more incidents dating back to 2009, it’s hilarious.

Okay, maybe not hilarious, but the fact of the matter is that his shot is lethal.

The rest of the Canadiens defensive core isn’t too bad with the likes of Jeff Petry and Karl Alzner standing out.

And then there’s the wall, Carey Price.

If he’s healthy, they’re good, if he’s injured, too bad.

That’s not entirely true as Al Montoya is capable of handling the crease for some time if Price is absent.

Still, a scary setup in goal for them.

I’m predicting that the Canadiens will finish fourth in the Atlantic by regular seasons end, only if the Boston Bruins lose David Pastrnak.

Next: Franson > Polak

If they resign him (which they should), then I think the Canadiens will finish fifth.