Montreal’s top Ontario line featured five Hall of Famers with several others not making the cut. Are those players now worthy of selection on line two?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, we’ve covered the ‘Best Montreal Lines’ from several countries worldwide. But while there is a growing internationalism of the game, the majority of the players that have suited up for the Habs have still come from Canada. As it stands, 716 Canadian-born players have played for the Canadiens versus 197 non-Canadian-born players.
With that in mind, doing a simple Team Canada poll wouldn’t quite do this justice. And let’s face it, while there is the Return to Play plan in place that features the Habs, we’re still a long way from games resuming. Accordingly, we’re going to work our way through Canada by province over the coming weeks. The tentative schedule is as follows:
Week 1: British Columbia
Week 2: Alberta
Week 3: Saskatchewan
Week 4: Manitoba
Week 5: Ontario Line 1
Week 6: Ontario Line 2
If things remain on schedule with the Return to Play plan though, we’ll resume the series whenever Montreal is eliminated from the playoffs with Team Quebec which will be a full roster instead of a line or two. The pickings are relatively slim in Eastern Canada so we may or may not do a combined one for them.
With more players coming from Canada, there are some added restrictions to this set of voting. For BC, skaters had to be in the top-400 in franchise scoring to be on the list. That had been dropped to 300 for the rest of Western Canada. It will be even lower here. To make the ballot, forwards must have been in the top-100 in franchise scoring while the field was expanded to the top-200 for defencemen. In goal, goalies must have played in at least 100 games with Montreal to be considered. Those restrictions will be tightened further for the Quebec portion of the series.
Having set the top line already, we will now set the second line which will again consist of three forwards, two defencemen, and one goalie. To cut down on some of the clutter up front, we’ve trimmed the field. Only those that finished 4th through 13th in the initial voting will be on this ballot.
For a refresher, the top line was as follows:
Forwards: Bob Gainey, Steve Shutt, Howie Morenz
Defence: Larry Robinson, P.K. Subban
Goaltender: Ken Dryden
When voting, please make your selections based on their contributions with the Canadiens only and not the rest of their NHL and international careers. Click here for a listing of the all-time stats for the Habs.
Here are the players to select from for ‘Team Ontario’.
Please cast your ballot by Saturday, July 18th. Results will be posted on Sunday, July 19th.