Connect with us

Habs Prospects

Canadiens Goalie Conundrum Could Force Offseason Moves



Montreal Canadiens goaltender Samuel Montembeault

The Montreal Canadiens are going to be looking to solidify their goaltending hierarchy this summer, which may prompt some roster shuffling.

General Manager Kent Hughes has been outspoken about the play of Samuel Montembeault and his place in the long-term plans for the Canadiens.

They were also impressed with the play of Cayden Primeau down the stretch with the Laval Rocket; propelling them to an improbable AHL playoff berth.

And then there’s Jake Allen, who had another up-and-down season due to injury and inconsistent play, but remained an exemplary teammate and locker-room leader.

The issue at hand is that, as of next season, the Canadiens are going to have to pick two goaltenders out of the trio and risk losing the other.

Waiver Problems

After four seasons of being able to freely move Cayden Primeau up and down between the NHL and AHL, he will effectively become waiver-eligible next season.

That means that, if the Montreal Canadiens do decide to go into next season with the trio of goaltenders, there’s a good chance they could lose Primeau for nothing next fall.

With the lack of young goaltenders across the league, a player like Primeau could be snatched up by one of the Habs’ rivals through waivers; leaving the Canadiens extremely thin at the position once more.

As of right now, the only other goaltender signed to a valid NHL contract within the organization is 21-year-old Jakub Dobes, who has yet to play one professional game in his career.

If the Canadiens were to run into injury trouble yet again next season, could they truly risk putting their farm team and themselves at risk at such a vital position?

After what they experienced over the last two years, it would be very unlikely.

Potential Solutions

With Kent Hughes confirming the organization’s desire to uncover the lengths of Montembeault’s potential, it would be safe to assume that the 26-year-old isn’t going anywhere.

That then leaves the team with the choice of Jake Allen, who’s new two-year, $3.875M contract kicks in this summer, and youngster Cayden Primeau.

It’s a difficult decision, as the Canadiens would likely want a veteran presence with Montembeault as he attempts to establish himself as a true No.1 goaltender in the NHL.

However, they also wouldn’t want to lose a goaltender they see much promise in like Primeau just because they’d have to subject him to waivers.

There is always the option that the Canadiens would ride out the 2023-2024 season with three goaltenders, but that would put a strain on the club’s roster flexibility, taking up three slots on their 23-man roster count.

Ultimately, it would likely be solved by way of trade.

But Who Goes?

There was a significant amount of interest in Jake Allen last summer, as his name was whispered quite a bit on the draft floor in Montreal last July.

With a two-year extension in hand, that kind of stability over the next two seasons could be of value for a club looking to get a veteran 1B type of goaltender for some long playoff runs.

In today’s NHL, a strong tandem is needed to make long runs throughout the season and playoffs, and the experienced 32-year-old could be of significant value to contending teams.

It would make more sense for a rebuilding club to gamble on the growth of their youth, in this case, having Montembeault and Primeau moving forward.

However, it could also be that Primeau is the player included in a trade for a team looking to develop the youngster at the NHL level.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the Montreal Canadiens this offseason, but you can likely expect some movement at the goaltending position, one way or another.

Click to comment
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

MHN 2023 NHL Draft

MHN in your inbox

Enter your email address and get all of our articles sent directly to your inbox

MHN on Facebook