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Examining Montembeault’s Great Year For Habs & Trade Options



Montreal Canadiens goaltender Samuel Montembeault

There was very little fanfare regarding Samuel Montembeault’s second season with the Montreal Canadiens.

Understandably so.

He was coming off a relatively poor season with the team, producing an 8-18-6 record combined with a .891 save percentage.

But as is always the case in hockey, context matters.

For Montembeault, playing with a wrist injury did not help his results.

Now that he has had an opportunity to surgically repair his wrist, not only have his numbers improved, his overall play has opened up options for Kent Hughes and the Canadiens, both in the short and long term.

The Numbers

At this point in the season, Montembeault was expected to allow 55 goals against at 5v5.

By only allowing 45 goals at 5v5, he’s saved 10 goals above the expected average (GSAA), which is the 12th-best result among all goaltenders.

His numbers aren’t as sparkling on the penalty kill, where he ranks 18th overall in GSAA, but given the Canadiens’ overall results when down a man, it’s hard to argue Montembeault is the cause of their poor results.

To give you a better idea of how well he played, Jake Allen ranks 78th overall in goals saved above expected on the penalty kill, and 53rd overall at 5v5.

Not only has Montembeault played well in a difficult situation, but he’s also outplayed his competition by a rather wide margin.

And that’s an incredibly encouraging sign for the Canadiens.

We must remember that his results last season, which included playing with an injury, are weighed in some of the projections you may have seen on social media.

Given the situation in which he played is unlikely to repeat in the future, we should take projections that weigh his injured results with a grain of salt.

Moving Forward

It’s much too early to declare Montembeault a bonafide starter in the NHL.

Scoring is up; therefore, any time a goaltender improves his save percentage, we should stand at attention, but it’s also fair to point out that goaltenders are very difficult to project.

Montembeault’s ascension does, however, allow the Canadiens to explore trade options for their other goaltender, Jake Allen.

It also allows Kent Hughes and Co. to explore trade options for goaltending prospects, with Montembeault acting as an insurance policy, holding the fort until another goaltender is ready to take up the baton.

Not to mention, it gives goaltending prospects that are currently in the organization, players such as Jakub Dobes, Frederik Dichow, and even Cayden Primeau, a longer developmental grace period.

Emotions and recency bias aside, Montembeault’s play this year is encouraging, but the sample size is too small.

With another year of starts under his belt, Canadiens management will have a much better idea of his long-term value.

And in the meantime, they can breathe a little easier easy knowing their best goaltender is also one of the best-value players in the league, thanks to his incredibly reasonable $1 million annual average value.

Statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via Money Puck.

Contract information via CapFriendly

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Allen should be moved
But that said MTL should explore short term back up solutions.
While it may be best for Primeau with Allen gone.
Its not best for Montembault who will need support in a Tendem to succeed.
Only other option is a 3 way Goalie rotation as Monty isnt a 55 + game guy ever.

Maybe you get 45 ish at most in a career high but thats it if you want him to be effective in the playoffs . We got him overweight and out of shape being purged from FLA but he turned it around in MTL in a very quick period of time . While he’s overachieved so far at his age its just impossible to see him becoming a 55+ game starter in todays NHL.

The undisputed best option for a Tandem Mentorship role IMO is Jaroslav Halak who likes 1-2 year deal to keep him in the playoff picture. With MTL on a 1 year deal overpaying him on a 2m dollar deal with a NMC so he can pick the team he’s traded to if we’re not a playoff team by TDL next year. That said what he offers isnt much different then what Allen does just slightly cheaper because JH is older


I’m curious to hear your thoughts on what makes you so confident that it’s impossible for Monty to be a 55+ guy in the future?

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