Toronto Maple Leafs: Rivalry With Canadiens Continues

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens will kick off the 2021 season tonight.

The wait is finally over! The puck drops on the Toronto Maple Leafs season tonight. Preserving some sense of normalcy on this strange season the Leafs will open the season against a familiar foe, the Montreal Canadiens.

The Montreal Canadiens are one of the few teams that can rival the Leafs in terms of roster movements this past offseason. Toronto will play Montreal a migraine inducing 10 times this season, so we will unfortunately become very familiar with the Canadiens new additions this year.

The Canadiens didn’t bring in any major star players, but they did make some significant adds.

In The Net:

Early in the offseason Montreal GM Marc Bergevin wasted no time making moves trading with the St Louis Blues and acquiring G Jake Allen for a small price of two 7th round picks (via NHL.com).

With the Leafs and Canadiens playing 10 games this season and the amount of back to back nights both teams will be playing the Leafs are guaranteed to face Allen at least a couple of times this year. Bergevin also extended Allen another two years, meaning we will be seeing this duo of Carey Price and Jake Allen for at least the next three seasons, assuming neither gets moved.

On The Blue Line:

Shortly after Bergevin traded for Allen he made another trade with the Carolina Hurricanes for defenceman Joel Edmundson. Montreal then subsequently extended Edmundson to another four years so the Leafs have another big-bodied d-man to deal with on the Canadien’s blue line. Jeff Petry was also extended another four years and will likely be paired with Edmundson in Montreal’s top four.

On the bright side, the Leafs no longer have to deal with D Karl Alzner as the Canadien’s waived and bought him out this off season. Not that Alzner was a d-man to be reckoned with, but the bright side is Montreal will carry dead cap space for the next four seasons (via capfriendly.com). This may not seem like much, but with a flat cap for the next few seasons this is a small advantage over a big rival.

In The Top Six:

In perhaps the biggest move of the offseason for Montreal, Bergevin traded F Max Domi to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for hulking F Josh Anderson. Anderson then inked a big seven year deal with the Canadiens guaranteeing that the Toronto area native will eventually become the city’s most hated player.

Another addition to the top six group that Montreal signed via free agency is former LA Kings and Vancouver Canucks F Tyler Toffoli. Unlike most of Montreal’s signings, Toffoli is not necessarily a large man but he will still be a handful for the Maple Leafs. Toffoli has a ton of speed and skill, add that with Anderson’s size, grit and scoring ability and the Leafs can expect a much tougher Montreal Canadiens this season.

The “Best” Of The Rest:

A couple of other names that stood out this offseason under the Canadien’s name were F Michael Frolik and F Corey Perry. Two players well known across the league, especially Perry, but that are probably beyond their playing years. Perry did look good in Dallas’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals last year but it seems unlikely he can replicate that again.

Montreal waived both players on Monday and they were designated to the taxi squad Tuesday. It is possible they see action against the Leafs at some point this season, but likely only if Montreal is having serious issues with the team. Fingers crossed!

All in all, the Canadiens are geared up to challenge for a playoff spot, and the Toronto Maple Leafs will look to take pleasure in denying them that, hopefully by beating them six,seven or eight times this season.