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The thread of quitting is hectic this time of year, as every NHL team makes tough roster choices and must part with young talent to bring their rosters into line. Sometimes teams get lucky and players sneak around because there are so many options available. Other times you lose a first round pick like Noah Juulsen and it stings a bit.

This year, it was the Montreal Canadiens who called for someone from the pre-season waiver. The club added 24-year-old goaltender Samuel Montembeault from the Florida Panthers, giving them another goalie with NHL experience.

That last part is the most important when you look at why the Canadiens claimed him from the Panthers: he’ll be on the NHL roster right now. This probably means Carey Price won’t be ready to play the opener, and Marc Bergevin wanted insurance behind Jake Allen.

It seemed like a great place for Michael McNiven at the moment, as Cayden Primeau will get the majority of starts at Laval early in his season. The Canadians clearly did not believe it, opting for another save option.

Ultimately, if Carey Price is ready to go next week, Montembeault can come back on waivers and a shuffle will begin in the AHL if he erases. If Price isn’t ready to go, what can the Canadiens and their fans expect from the new goalie if he is called upon to support Allen to start the season?

In Montembeault, they saw a chance to catch someone they would have in sight in the 2015 NHL Draft. His NHL resume isn’t huge, with just 25 total games played with a 9-8-3 record, a 3.20 goals-against average and a 0.892 save percentage. None of these stats paint a very flattering picture for a player who was once supposed to be a beginner. His time was suddenly up when Sergei Bobrovsky signed a mega-deal, Spencer Knight stepped into the fold and Chris Driedger came out of nowhere to form a formidable trio in front of him.

His AHL numbers are slightly better, but they’ve also skewed a bit playing on bad Springfield Thunderbirds teams. In his first two years as a developing goaltender he failed to post a winning record in either year, and in his third season he saw his time split between the NHL. and the LAH, its departures being reduced in favor of the aforementioned Driedger and the new arrival Philippe Desrosiers. It resulted in his best statistical season in terms of goals against (3.00) and save percentage (.918), but was still a long way off third in the NHL pecking order as Bobrovsky and Driedger managed to best years.

Last year he was assigned to the Syracuse Crunch while the Panthers were between AHL affiliates. He mainly shared the net with Spencer Martin, posting an 8-4-1 record along with a 2.86 goals against and save percentage of 0.898, which almost matches what McNiven had with the Rocket.

In terms of style of play, he uses his large frame and solid position work to overcome his poor footwork around the net. This lack of agility makes him a bit messy when he loses his net, which could be exacerbated by a Canadiens defense that sometimes tends to lack structure. With the Rocket’s defense as strong as it is, he could very easily have some of these flaws covered for him, but he has a few flaws that need to be addressed if he is to become a regular NHL goalie.

You shouldn’t expect major changes in your game once you arrive in Montreal. He’s a good option to be a split starter in the AHL if he’s fired after Carey Price returns. However, he hasn’t proven that he can help Allen any more than McNiven or Primeau could.

In terms of hierarchy in the AHL, Primeau will still handle the majority of starts for Laval, while McNiven (if he accepts waivers) and Kevin Poulin will spell Primeau when the weather calls for it, with Montembeault entering the conversation for that secondary role. if he had to finish. downstream.

Right now, it looks like Allen is busy starting the regular season while he waits for Price to return. Beyond that, the Canadiens are betting that Montembeault could find his next level in his home province. If he doesn’t, that’s not a role he’ll be in for long.


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