Montreal Canadiens: Ranking The Canadian Division Team’s Defensemen

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JULY 28: Shea Weber Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - JULY 28: Shea Weber Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /
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TORONTO, ONTARIO – AUGUST 02: Morgan Rielly (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO – AUGUST 02: Morgan Rielly (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /

Toronto Maple Leafs

Morgan Rielly – T.J. Brodie

Jake Muzzin – Justin Holl

Mikko Lehtonen – Zach Bogosian

Rielly and Brodie will be asked to play a ton of minute for this team. Rielly was in the running for a Norris Trophy in 2019 but dropped to 27 points in 47 games last season. Brodie looked fantastic at times in Calgary with the Flames and not so great, especially in his own end, at others. He usually played great when on the right side next to Mark Giordano, but often struggled when asked to play his natural side, even when he was partnered with Dougie Hamilton.

Muzzin is a great defensive defenceman and gives this team the option to use their second pairing as a shutdown pair and free up that top pair for some easier matchups. He was second on the team in ice time with 21:35 last season and can hold his own defensively against anyone. Justin Holl is going to need to take a big step to be a legit top four defenceman after averaging 18:30 last year.

Lehtonen is the big question mark as he put up great numbers playing in the KHL, but how will he look in the NHL? We know Bogosian is just a big, slow defenceman who is willing to block shots, but also has to quite often because the puck tends to make itself comfortable in Bogosian’s defensive zone.

Overall, this blue line just doesn’t have the depth to be among the best in the division. If Rielly plays like he did in the past and Brodie meshes quickly with him that’s a great top pairing. If not, it could get ugly defensively for them. Holl, Lehtonen and Bogosian is a pretty weak bottom half of the depth chart, and one of them has to play top four minutes every night.