The Montreal Canadiens are looking to address their goaltending future, with some young goaltenders across the league as potential targets.
Cayden Primeau has unfortunately been unable to put up consistent performances so far this season, which will prompt the Canadiens to look elsewhere to determine the future of such a vital position. The Canadiens bought themselves a little time by extending Jake Allen for an extra two years, but they’ll need to have a successor in place and ready to take No. 1 duties before then.
On me chuchote à l'oreille que Kent Hughes et Jeff Gorton aimeraient bien mettre la main sur un jeune gardien prometteur avant la date limite des transactions.
Sinon, durant le repêchage.
— Maxime Truman (@MaximeTruman) December 20, 2022
There are a few potential candidates across the league that fit the age group of the Canadiens’ core that could be worth targeting in any eventual trade. It would be easy to go for someone like Spencer Knight or Carter Hart, but they’re already the present of their existing organizations; meaning the Canadiens would need to go for some younger tenders.
Here are some of the best options:
Tarasov is one of those goaltenders that plays much better in the NHL than he does in the AHL for some reason. He has shown great fight in him and glimpses of being the top goaltender many projected him to be and that’s a possible target the Canadiens could pounce on.
With Elvis Merzlikins signed until the end of the 2026-2027 season, the road to the starter role might not be in Columbus for the 23-year-old goaltender.
With goalies taking more time to develop, Montreal could be exactly the right spot for a Tarasov to come in and get some consistency in playing time.
So far this season, despite Columbus being riddled with injury, Tarasov has put up admirable stats, posting a 0.915 save percentage and a 3.03 goals-against average; this on the team that allowed the most goals-against in the NHL.
Playing behind a more structured, healthy defensive structure, the 6’5, 197lbs netminder could be the sneaky prospect the Canadiens need to prepare for the future.
TARASAVE OF THE SEASON? Absolutely unbelievable by Tarasov! pic.twitter.com/2rkNKxS53E
— CBJ Center (@CBJcenter) December 16, 2022
Devon Levi would be the ideal fit from the Buffalo Sabres.
General Manager Kent Hughes and head coach Martin St-Louis are extremely familiar with him, as he plays with their sons at Northeastern University. He’s got experience playing behind Canadiens youngsters like Jordan Harris and Jayden Struble; and he’s a local born player to boot.
And yet, all of those things are details compared to the truth of it all: he’s one of the best goaltending prospects out there right now.
Levi would provide the Canadiens with a bonafide, can’t-miss heir apparent in nets, and could jump to pro at the end of the season, after the Northeastern Huskies finish their season.
He’s not too far away from the NHL, but possibly a little too far for the Sabres, who will be looking to compete for the playoffs sooner, rather than later.
— Spoked Z (@SpokedZ) November 13, 2022
Dustin Wolf might be the victim of an unfortunate numbers game with the Calgary Flames , with the club in win-now mode and having invested significant term and money in Jacob Markstrom to bring them to the promised land. To make matters worse for Wolf, the Flames just extended backup Dan Vladar for another two seasons as well.
Wolf has had a very good start to his pro career since coming over from the WHL and will be knocking on the door to the NHL sooner than some believe. The Canadiens and Flames have linked up a few times over the last few months in trades, so it wouldn’t be outlandish to see that partnership be rekindled, as Wolf would fit in exactly with what the Canadiens are looking for in a goaltending prospect of the future.
With expensive contracts given to other veterans like Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri, time is of the essence for the Flames, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Wolf potentially used as trade bait down the line if the Flames want to add a piece for an eventual Cup run this upcoming season.
The Calgary Flames have been confirmed to have had interest in some of the Montreal Canadiens forwards in the past, perhaps a deal can be struck with Wolf as a centrepiece.
📹 Dustin Wolf doin’ what he does! pic.twitter.com/Rvg4I8JkzJ
— Calgary Wranglers (@AHLWranglers) November 20, 2022
The Nashville Predators will likely not give away any prospects of note until they turn their fortunes around on a regular basis and put themselves in a position to compete consistently.
However, if Askarov is ever made available, you can bet your bottom dollar that the Montreal Canadiens would be on it.
The former 11th overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft is just starting to get his feet wet in the AHL with the Milwaukee Admirals and is putting up respectable numbers.
The 6’3, 178lbs goaltender is a top player in the making, but the Nashville Predators are somewhat of a win-now team, with their entire core pushing or beyond 30 years old.
As the Predators continue to look for scoring punch moving forward and to capitalize on the final prime years of their core before a full teardown, it could be an opportune time for the Canadiens to try and swoop in.
A few potential candidates across the league
Third 1st-Round Pick
What if the goaltender of the future hasn’t yet been drafted?
The Canadiens are actively looking for a third 1st-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, and, there are a few goalies that are pushing to get picked between the 25 to 40 rank in this deep class.
Goaltenders like Michael Hrabal of the USHL or Scott Ratzlaff of the WHL are pushing for a place in the 1st round with solid performances in their respective leagues.
It’s been 18 years since the Canadiens spent a 1st-round pick on a goaltender (Carey Price), and they could use a newly acquired late 1st-round pick to address the position, once and for all.
Unfortunately, this seems like the least likely of situations for the Montreal Canadiens, as goalies take time to develop, and it wouldn’t necessary line up with the age group of Nick Suzuk or Cole Caufield, who are already 21 and up.