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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Now Have Options For Offseason Goaltending Overhaul



Montreal Canadiens prospect Jakub dobes

With the signing of Jakub Dobes and the emergence of Samuel Montembeault, the Montreal Canadiens have some flexibility to overhaul their goaltending structure this summer.

Going into next season, the Canadiens would normally have Jake Allen, Samuel Montembeault and Cayden Primeau vying for the two goaltending positions with the Canadiens.

However, the Canadiens have a predicament on their hands as of next season, with Primeau no longer being waiver-exempt.

After having afforded him a three-year contract earlier this season, Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes isn’t likely to just let Primeau hit waivers and lose an asset for nothing.

If you had asked us at the beginning of the season; it could have been conceivable to include Primeau in an eventual trade, but, the performances of Samuel Montembeault and Primeau down the stretch could change how the Canadiens approach this summer.

Decisions For Montreal Canadiens

Samuel Montembeault has been one of the most clutch goaltenders in the NHL this season; ranking 12th in goals saved above expectation across the league.

He’s easily stolen between five to six games for the Canadiens this season; making him one of the major reasons this club isn’t further down the NHL standings.

It’s quite notable that the Canadiens have upped his workload down the stretch; choosing to give him more and more games to close out the season.

It seems that the Canadiens are evaluating their goaltending at this time in order to make wiser decisions this summer; and Montembeault has surely given them a lot to think about.

Sporting a .904 save percentage and 3.30 goals-against average behind a very inexperienced defensive brigade, Montembeault is showing he can take on a bigger role moving forward; as the team continues to grow together.

Speaking of growing, Cayden Primeau has been the Laval Rocket‘s most valuable player down the stretch, as they try to claw their way into the AHL Playoffs.

Primeau and the Rocket started off the season in terrible fashion, but have seemingly picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and have gone on quite the run over the last two months.

Over his last 20 games, Primeau has a .915 save percentage on average and has been the difference-maker in many big games for the Rocket down the stretch; including a 3-0 shutout performance on Friday night against the Rockford IceHogs.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Primeau called up at some point to get some more games in and show Canadiens management he may indeed be ready for bigger things.

Laval Rocket And Beyond

With the signing of Jakub Dobes, the Canadiens will have another fun project to work with next season and mould into an NHL goaltender.

A standout at Ohio State over the last two years in the NCAA, Dobes is perhaps one of the most underrated prospects in the Canadiens organization; as his progress has been impressive.

It’s expected that the 21-year-old is likely to be the Rocket’s starting goaltender next season; with the possibility of having a veteran netminder like Kevin Poulin back him up and mentor him through his first pro season.

Dobes is highly regarded within the Canadiens organization and wouldn’t have been signed out of the NCAA with two more years of eligibility if there wasn’t a desire to get him into a considerable amount of games next season.

Then that leaves Joe Vrbetic, whom the Laval Rocket signed to an AHL deal and assigned to the Trois-Rivières Lions for the season.

The Montreal Canadiens decided to speed up Vrbetic’s development by having him leave the OHL a year early and get some meaningful pro games.

For the Canadiens, it helped give them a better idea of what kind of prospect they had in Vrbetic, as the rigours of the pro game tend to shine a light on the character and ability of goaltenders coming out of junior.

General manager Kent Hughes could offer Vrbetic an entry-level contract and assign him to the ECHL next season without issue; giving him another year to grow in Trois Rivières, before eventually calling him up the following season to backup Dobes full-time.

It would offer the Canadiens some goaltending flexibility and could give the Laval Rocket an excellent shot at having strong goaltending reinforcements in the case of injury.

Odd Man Out

This leaves the Canadiens with a conundrum, as Jake Allen or Cayden Primeau appears to be the odd man out in this equation.

If the Canadiens believe in Primeau and would like to see him play in the NHL next season; Montembeault’s performances allow the Canadiens a sense of assurance in potentially moving on from their veteran goaltender.

Allen has a value contract at $3.875M for the next two seasons and could be an interesting 1A/1B option for some of the many clubs without a veteran goaltender in the midst.

Hughes has mentioned his desire to retain Montembeault for the long haul and has indicated his interest in seeing just how high he could push his limits.

By moving Allen, the Canadiens would truly have a season of development in 2023-2024; as Montembeault would be given free rein to prove himself as a No.1 goaltender; while Primeau could slowly entrench himself in the NHL as a backup.

There is, of course, the other option of ultimately moving Primeau in a package to another club and running with the same goaltending duo next season, while Dobes develops in Laval.

If the Canadiens aren’t comfortable going with such an inexperienced goaltending duo for next season, it could very well be Primeau who could be dangled to other NHL clubs, rather than lose him for nothing via waivers next fall.

It gives Kent Hughes options going into the summer to restructure the position to how he sees fit from an organizational perspective; offering the Canadiens solid depth from top to bottom and giving them players with upside at every level.

A far cry from the state of their goaltending structure just two seasons ago.

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The other possibility is they could roll with 3 goalies on the roster next season. At Allen’s age, the odds are he will be injured at least once.

It’s not ideal to go with 3 goalies but BUF did it this year.


But do we honestly expect Allen to be Healthy?
Dude’s basically a Coach at this point there for moral support.
He only shows up to sit on IR, take shots in practice and lose games.

I dont blame him, he bet on himself.
But MTL took a guy who was proven not to be a Starter but a Quality Back Up who thrived behind Price and tried making him a Tandem Goalie (impossible at his age vs experience)

Its like MSL putting our Kovacevic and Pezzetta in the extra rounds of overtime , it just feels like MTL actively trying to lose by betting on the long shots in their system over the guys who had scored in playoffs to this point. It worked out and that was great for sure as it has to a degree with Allen but that wasnt managements intention IMO

Allen is great guy to have if Primeau had actually hit his top expected predictions are a Fringe Starter or a Theodore type. But to date at best he’s shown he’s more of a Jarry type or Ullmark who needs a solid 50/50 split with its partner or the option to rely on him that much if nothing else.

I mean if Montembault was 22 it’d be different but he is now the Veteran who took Allen’s job as the replacement for carey Price. He’s a UFA after next season and by every measure is just as capable a leader as Jake even if he doesnt enjoy the Media at the same level .(jake handles it well)


My guess is they signed Dobes with the intent to trade Primeau this summer. I don’t see them trading Allen this summer. They signed the vet because he’s a good teammate and leader. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was moved at the deadline though. It would all depend on the development of Dobes in his 1st year. It should be another building season next year so if we’re out of it early, Allen could be moved at the deadline and his spot filled for the remainder of the season by Dobes, Poulin or a cheap pickup at the deadline (a goalie in, goalie out trade perhaps, with a little something extra for us in the deal). We just have to pick up a few more high draft picks next season. Then, it’ll be the summer of 2024 with several big name players/goalies available as UFAs. The summer of 2024 will be the turning point in this rebuild.


Allen’s out as he’s increasingly more injured the bigger the role he’s asked to play.
Given our issues with Price over the years MTL wont mess around with that.

We got 3 Tandem Goalie’s , 2 Back Up’s and a Fringe Starter like Theodore was.

Primeau, Dobes and Monty are all Tandem Goalies .
Allen and Croteau are legit back ups behind a Price, Bobo,MAF or Vasilevsky types.

Dichow is in one of the best SHL Tandems on one of the top team. While his numbers may look mediocre he’s a 6’6 Goalie adjusting to his size at the highest level outside the NHL as one of the top guys.His mentor is a former KHL top guy and SHL Vezina equivalent winner who’s been the ideal partner for Dichow who over the next 2 years will grow to replace the Veteran as Starter.

Dichow has a longer Journey but of everyone in our system is the only Starting Goalie i see in the NHL by age 25 outside Montembault in a by proxy situation as Allens always hurt or playing bad forcing Monty to take more starts then he may be ready for.

If im MTL i draft Hrabal who’s entering the NCAA in a good system .
He’s a True Starter , not Fringe or Tandem or Back up but just a true undisputed starter.


Hrabal’s size has me drooling too. I really like Dichow as well. I wouldn’t refer to Theodore as a fringe starter though. The guy won a Hart trophy!😁


Even if Allen rebounds he won’t net the Habs a high draft pick. A third round pick would be unlikely.

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