The Montreal Canadiens may be the most balanced team in the North Division
The Montreal Canadiens are going to see a lot of Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, Elias Pettersson, and Patrik Laine this season. While the team doesn’t have the offensive star power of the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, or Winnipeg Jets, the Canadiens have something the other teams don’t.
No, (though he does help) not Carey Price — balance.
We already know that Canadiens head coach Claude Julien loves to roll four lines, but since taking over the team he’s rarely had the roster to do so consistently, at least effectively. However, Marc Bergevin’s moves this off-season have provided the Canadiens with their deepest and most balanced roster in years.
The off-season started with the additions of Jake Allen and Joel Edmundson, and it was clear at that point that Bergevin was trying to make the Canadiens deeper. The trade of Max Domi for Josh Anderson has its critics, but anyone who watched the team in the post-season saw the writing on the wall. Anderson is by far a better fit in this lineup, and provides it with a lot more balance. The signing of Tyler Toffoli was just icing on the cake.
If you compare the Canadiens’ roster from their final game played at full health (Game 5 versus the Philadelphia Flyers and not Game 6 when Brendan Gallagher was missing) they have essentially replaced Domi, Charles Hudon, Xavier Ouellet, and Charlie Lindgren with the players above.
With a condensed 56-game schedule, goaltending depth will be very important. This has been an issue for years with the Canadiens. Price has been overworked, leading to inconsistent play or injured, leading to an out-of-his-depth backup being thrown into the fire. It’s no coincidence that Price’s great play in the post-season came when he was rested.
With Allen, the Canadiens kill two birds with one stone. They have a player who has shown to be one of the more capable backups in the league, and someone who has started games in the NHL and had success recently in case an injury hits.