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Montreal Canadiens Should Examine Jake Allen Trade Options

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Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen

When the Montreal Canadiens extended Jake Allen in October of 2022, the goal was to provide the team with an experienced goaltender that could stem the tide of offence from opposing teams while Kent Hughes assesses his net-minding options for the future.

And while there’s no doubt Allen has given the Canadiens good value in recent years, his play at the start of the 2022-23 season has left a lot to be desired.

He is currently among the worst goaltenders in the NHL when it comes to his goals saved above average at 5v5(GSAA), with -8.5. Only James Reimer (-8.8) and Elvis Merzlikins (-12.5) have saved fewer goals above average than the Canadiens starter. It’s not a matter of facing a higher level of shot quality either. Allen faces a slightly lower shot quality than his Canadiens counterpart, Samuel Montembeault.

Allen is in the last year of a two-year, $2.875 million contract. Next season his extension will kick in, and his salary cap hit will rise to $3.85 million over the next two years.

Montembeault Factor

As it stands, Montembeault has clearly outplayed Allen, owing to some fantastic performances in games that should have seen the Canadiens blown out of the water, but resulted in exciting matchups due to the excellent goaltending.

Given his current form, Montreal Canadiens coach Martin St-Louis recently tasked Montembeault with back-to-back starts, resulting in back-to-back wins. Montembeault saved 60 of the 63 shots he faced against the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Statistically speaking, goalies reach their prime much later than skaters, which points to the 26-year-old holding an encouraging amount of potential seeing as he’s currently sporting a 0.924 save percentage, which is significantly higher than Allen’s 0.891.

If the Canadiens decide to put Allen on the trade market, there could be a high level of interest. He has playoff experience, and though he probably shouldn’t be considered a bonafide starter at this point in his career, he has been known to find his rhythm during long stretches of games.

There has also been strong interest in the past for Allen’s services.

St-Louis did mention Allen is still considered the Montreal Canadiens’ starter for the time being, but if Montembeault continues to outperform him, it will be impossible and illogical to stick with the 32-year-old goaltender as the team’s first choice.

 

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