The NHL’s holiday roster freeze may be in place, but that hasn’t stopped teams from discussing the possibility of trading for a Montreal Canadiens goaltender.
Several teams could stand to improve their goaltending depth in a bid to solidify their playoff hopes. The Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, and Carolina Hurricanes have looked at the available players due to either injuries or poor goaltending, but for now, the discussion has not gone beyond evaluating the available options on the NHL’s trade market.
“Montreal did hear from a couple of teams over the past week or so,” said LeBrun. “Those teams expect to circle back to the Canadiens about Jake Allen. That doesn’t necessarily mean that a trade is imminent. Carolina is among the teams that I believe has had a conversation with Montreal, recently. New Jersey is a team that has internally discussed the Jake Allen idea. When Martin Brodeur was in St-Louis he spent time with Allen, so he knows him well.”
The Canadiens currently have three goaltenders among the top 32 in the league when it comes to their goals saved above expected. Consequently, the team owns the fifth-best save percentage in the NHL.
It’s a stark contrast with the Devils and Hurricanes, who are sporting the second and fourth-worst save percentage in the league. Hockey can be a complicated sport, but there’s one constant: poor goaltending will sink you every time.
Acquiring a veteran such as Jake Allen, who sits 14th among all NHL goaltenders in goals saved above expected at 5v5, would surely solidify their playoff hopes while also providing a calming presence for teams that have little to no confidence in their current goaltenders.
Despite the high interest around the league, the Canadiens should not expect a king’s ransom if they do end up trading one of their netminders. Historically speaking, goaltenders have fetched low returns when included in NHL trades.
Jake Allen with the rare goaltender spin-o-rama save.
Allen saved 18 of the 19 (!!!) shots by the Jets in the first period. pic.twitter.com/naDP5eYGTw
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) October 28, 2023