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NHL Insider Believes Canadiens Weighing Options With Jake Allen

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have reportedly begun talks with Jake Allen, and that outcome will heavily impact what they do next regarding the club’s goaltending depth.

In a most recent episode of 32 Thoughts, NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman confirmed that the Canadiens are indeed talking with Jake Allen’s camp, but the reasoning might be a little more interesting than initially let on.

“It was first reported by Kevin Weekes that there were talks underway. I don’t get the sense that it’s close, but Kevin is right; they are talking,” said Friedman regarding the rumoured extension talks between the Canadiens and Allen. “There was a time earlier in the summer where teams were asking Montreal what they were going to do with Jake Allen and the Canadiens said no to any of it because they didn’t know what Carey Price‘s future was. They wanted to make sure they had Allen there to sort of hold down the fort.”

Montreal Hockey Now had confirmed earlier in the summer that a few teams were actively interested in acquiring Jake Allen‘s services, due to him having one year left on his deal at a very reasonable $2.875M cap hit. As of this junction, the list of available goaltenders in the NHL via free agency is razor thin, making the search for potential starting goalies or luxury backup goalies a challenging task for teams.

With the Canadiens recently signing Cayden Primeau to a three-year, one-way deal and having Samuel Montembeault signed through next season,  the Canadiens have opened up extension talks to get some clarity on where things are going with Allen. If the Canadiens do end up extending Allen, one of Primeau or Montembeault could be moved within the next calendar year or lost to waivers, but, if they can’t agree on an agreeable range on extension talks, the Canadiens might have to take a different approach. That clarity is what they’re looking for, and it’s significant that they’re looking for it now; right before the season is about to start.

“He’s got a year left, and he’s a UFA; I think Montreal wants to have an idea, sooner rather than later, on if they can sign him,” said Friedman as he concluded the segment.

Next year’s goaltending free agency pool isn’t the deepest, so any decision on Allen will be directly impacted by this fact and is likely what is prompting the Canadiens to try and get some clarity as to their starting goaltender’s demands and intentions. Should the Canadiens not be able to come to terms with Allen, he would make for an excellent trade chip prior to the start of the season or at the upcoming NHL Trade Deadline.

With the goalie market likely to heat up before camp; a negative outcome in talks could put the Canadiens in a situation to get prime value on Allen, which could also reduce their cap expenditure enough for them to take Price off LTIR until the start of the season, and gain $2.2M in LTIR space in the process (see article below for more information).  It’s entirely possible, and most likely probable, that the two sides will come to an agreement on a multi-year contract; but the timing of these talks is not to be understated. It will be interesting to see the outcome and how that impacts the future plans for the goaltending position in Montreal.

 

Why Canadiens Wanted To Wait Before Putting Price On LTIR

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