North Division: How the Canucks stack up against the Canadiens

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Vancouver Canucks Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

The Vancouver Canucks have been placed in an all Canadian division for the upcoming season, but how do they compare against the Montreal Canadiens?

With the Canadian division officially set, The Canuck Way will be taking a look at how Vancouver stacks up against every other team in the division over the next several days.

The Vancouver Canucks are set to play all their games against Canadian teams this season, which means that they’ll be getting more familiar with the Montreal Canadiens, a team who they normally don’t see too often.

Both clubs made the play-in tournament last year, but Vancouver had a significantly higher win percentage (.565%), as the Canadiens was one of the last to make it in (.500%).

Significant changes were made to both rosters, especially Montreal’s, so we’ll need to dive deeper into the two teams before deciding on who might have an upper hand, starting with their respective offences.

How their offence stacks up

The Canucks were one of the higher scoring teams in the league last year, as they averaged 3.25 goals per game, placing eighth in that category. Meanwhile, Montreal struggled more to score, averaging only 2.93 goals every match and ranking 19th overall.

I fully expect Vancouver to still score more this season, but the difference might be closer than you think. This is due to the big offseason moves that the Canadiens made, as they signed former Canuck Tyler Toffoli while also trading for Josh Anderson. Furthermore, both Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki seem poised to take a big leap and become fixtures in their top six, after they had standout performances during the play-in tournament.

Ultimately, the Canucks should still be able to sport a top 10 offence but Montreal has the talent to become a more potent club as well, and I expect them to be amongst the 15 highest scoring teams by season’s end.

How their defence stacks up

Both organizations made significant upheavals to their respective bluelines, but in vastly different manners.

The Canucks upgraded their top four by trading for Nate Schmidt but lost significant depth with the departures of both Troy Stecher and Chris Tanev.

On the other hand, Montreal’s top pairings should largely stay intact but they added lots more depth to the backend due to the arrival of elite prospect Alexander Romanov and the acquisition of Joel Edmundson.

In other words, Vancouver’s top of the lineup players are better while the Canadiens rely more on their strength in numbers.

So, which team has the better defence corps? Personally, I’d give the edge to Montreal since the Canucks’ blueline drops off significantly after Quinn Hughes and Schmidt. Vancouver is a single injury in their top four away having either Jordie Benn or a rookie be forced into a matchup role, which will be disastrous for the team. Nevertheless, the margin is close, but the Canadiens should be slightly favoured in this category.

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