Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Good Pre-season Reading

Leafs vs. Habs, 2010-11

Stumbled across an interesting little article this afternoon. I thought you might all like to have a look.


Leafs vs. Habs: My take

Forwards: Habs

Defence: Equal
I can't agree that the Leafs have the best defence in the league on paper. Especially not when they played together last season and were not truly impressive. But Habs fans, be careful. The Canadiens defence was one of the worst in a long while for allowing chances and shots. Given that their purpose is to prevent chances and shots, I'd say they need to improve a lot.

Goaltending: Equal
I tend to agree that Giguere still has some in the tank. And with Carey still learning, matching an above average Giguere season would be a step in the right direction. Gustavsson is a wild card here, but he hasn't done enough yet to tip this balance.

Coaching: Undecided
I swing back and forth between the reviewer's view that both are incompetents on their last legs and that both must be competent enough, given their long careers.

Special teams: Habs

Pressure: Habs
Imagine 6 years without playoffs, never mind the Cup.

Cap space: Habs
I have to disagree with Five For Fighting here. Toronto doesn't appear to have any bad contracts, but they must. They are over the cap right now and the top centre on their depth chart is Tyler Bozak. Just because Burke builds up his expenses with incremental bad contracts doesn't mean he's a good cap manager. Grabovski is a bad contract, Kuleimin doesn't compare well across the league, and the minimum level play without many minimum level contracts add up each and every time. The Leafs will have more space next season, but it's likely they'll still need s top line of forwards and a number one goalie, so that money may evaporate fast.

Prospects: Undecided


Overall, I think last year's regular season gives an accurate reflection on the difference between these two teams. Montreal is still a team fighting for the playoffs, while Toronto have some fight but are still just a cut below that.

Perhaps a more relevant question to both groups of fans is whether it's worth debating the difference between these two sides when Pittsburgh, Washington, Philadelphia, New Jersey and others trundle on in the East.

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