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Here are three reasons why the Habs will win the North Division! I dont think you can disagree on any of the below and if you do, please comment! rnrn1. Superior tendies:rnrnThe 2020-21 NHL season is a 56-game sprint with 11 back to backs for the Habs played over 116 days. Having two superior tendies is very key to a team’s success. The Habs have Carey Price (save %. 909, GAA 2.79) and Jake Allen (save % .927 GAA 2.16), arguably the best goalie tandem in the North Division, if not the league. This means unlike previous years, the Habs can rely on Allen to make more starts than previous backups like Kinkaid, Lindgren, Condon. Last years statistics show that a rested Price was a sharper Price (Regular season Games Played: 58, save % 909, GAA 2.79 versus Playoffs after COVID-19 related break Games Played 10 save % .936 GAA 1.78). A solid backup goalie like Allen means Price can play 30-32 games leaving Allen to play 24-26 games. A rested Price in the playoffs is a winning Price.rnrn2. Tough Defense:rnrn The Habs Defense was already tough to play against in the playoffs. Add Edmundson and Romanov and suddenly the top 5 become that much meaner and tougher to face. Five of the top six D (Weber, Petry, Chiarot, Edmundson, Romanov) are at least 6 feet tall and 200+ lbs in weight. The only sub six-foot player is Mete who is also very mobile. This makes the Habs Defense experienced, big and strong (Weber, Chiarot, Edmundson, Petry), mobile (Mete, Romanov), and deep (Kulak, Oulette). Losing Juulsen to waivers also shows how deep the defense is. Apart from perhaps Carolina and Tampa, no D has this combination. In the North division, the Habs top 6, are arguably the best. Compare versus Toronto (Reilly, Brodie, Muzzin, Dermott, Lehtonen, Holl/ Bogosian) Calgary (Giordano, Hanifin, Tanev, Andersson, Valimaki, Stone/Nesterov) Edmonton (Nurse, Bear, Barrie, Jones, Russell, Larsson), Winnipeg (Morrissey, Demelo, Pionk, Niku, Beaulieu, Forbort) Ottawa (Chabot, Braanstrom, Gudbranson, Reilly, Coburn, Zaitsev) and not much more) and Vancouver (Edler, Hughes, Myers, Hamonic, Schmidt, Benn).rnrnrn3. Newfound depth upfront: rnrnCritics will point out that there is no superstar sniper on this team. Where is the equivalent of McDavid, Matthews, Petterson, Laine, Gaudreau? The Habs do not have a star sniper. Yet they can roll out 3 great scoring lines and add a super fourth line that checks relentlessly and has speed. When a team gives up Max Domi and a couple of draft picks and gets Anderson, Toffoli, Frolik, Perry, Edmundson, you know it’s been a great offseason. The team already saw the maturing of its young centres – Kotkaniemi, Suzuki. This made Domi expendable for bruising power forward Josh Anderson. Adding a scorer from the slot in Tyler Toffoli gives the Habs a new look, especially on the power play which was woeful in 2020. Add in the experience and toughness of Frolik and Perry and suddenly you have an abundance of depth. This was proven by the fact that Perry and Frolik are on the taxi squad. Such depth has not been seen in over two decades. The team retains its speed, adds size, balance. rnrnIn summary, the Habs will win the North Division as they bring speed, size, experience, depth compared to their rivals. Over the 56-game sprint, goaltending will be a major factor as will Cup experience. The offseason addressed this and now the games begin. Bring it on and let's hope for a 25th Stanley Cup banner to hang from the rafters of the Bell Center in July 2021!rnrnGo Habs Go!rnrn
Filed Under:   #Canadiens   #Habs   #NHL   #2021stanleycup   #GoHabsGo  
January 19, 2021 1:27 PM ET | Delete
An interesting take. While it is possible the Habs can win the division, it remains highly unlikely as the only elite players on the roster are long past their primes.They are incredibly deep with exceptional third and forth lines, but the lack of top line players will likely make goal scoring difficult once teams have their systems established. Only Brian Burke believes fourth line depth is the key to victory. Additionally, I question Your theory on the team having two "elite tendies". Price has long ago fallen from the elite tier, (below average in all critical starter stats for 3 years) and the back-up will be one of the best in the north division, but is far from elite. I anticipate the improved depth should help reduce the goals against, but any improvement will have nothing to do with 'elite' tenders. It will be interesting to see how far the improved depth can take the team, and how much they will benefit from the weak North division. However, I suggest without adding some elite level talent (similar to what Price and Weber once were), the Habs are reflective of a fringe playoff team like the Islanders, and less similar to Champs like the Lightning.
January 23, 2021 9:39 AM ET | Delete
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