Canadiens Have 5 Options to Replace Carey Price

The Montreal Canadiens’ star goaltender Carey Price traveled with the team for the first time this season. Speculation is high that he will play sometime within the week. With his pending return, there are also many rumours that management might want to move Price’s contract to free up needed cap space.

This offseason will be an interesting one when it comes to Price. It will all depend on whether or not Canadiens general manager (GM) Kent Hughes and vice president of hockey operations (VPHO) Jeff Gorton want to rebuild or have a fast turnaround. If Price is traded, that begs the question of who will be the Habs goaltender moving forward? Here’s a look at some goalies that could fill the void.

 

Jake Allen

Jake Allen, of course, would be on this list; he is the primary backup and has one year left on his contract. Allen has been the starting goaltender for the Canadiens the past two seasons while Price has faced injury issues; however, Allen has dealt with a few injuries this season. One more year on his contract will give the organization enough time to evaluate prospect Cayden Primeau and give him another year with the Laval Rocket to better prepare him for the NHL. Primeau has had a rough go when playing in the NHL this season and might have lost some confidence.

Allen is the go-to guy, at least for the short term. Primeau will not be ready to step in next season, and Sam Montembault, who has played most of the games with Price and Allen injured this season, has been inconsistent at best and doesn’t look to be in the Canadiens’ future. Since Allen joined the Habs, he has played 64 games with a 20-32-9 recorded .906 save percentage (SV%) and a goals-against average (GAA) of 3.09. Nothing spectacular, but the Canadiens have been dismal this season until new coach Martin St. Louis was hired; they are better but still at the bottom of the league. If they plan to rebuild and need another year to do so, Allen is the best choice. If it’s longer, they could still sign him to a team-friendly deal, as he’s only 31, and two or three more years will give the prospects enough time to develop correctly.

 

Ilya Samsonov

There was a rumour around the trade deadline that the Canadiens were interested in Ilya Samsonov of the Washington Capitals. If this rumour has any legs, then Samsonov could be a great addition to the Canadiens and could easily be their number one guy for years to come. He is only 25 years old and currently makes only $2 million on an expiring restricted free agent (RFA) contract. Samsonov is 22-9-4 with three shutouts, a GAA of 2.93 and SV% of .899; the GAA and SV% are not that great, but they are still on par with the current Habs goaltending situation.

As a pending RFA, the Canadiens would have to trade for his rights or wait for the Capitals to sign him and try to make a trade then. Although his win-loss record is great, his underlying numbers are not, so if the Habs want to trade for him, they could get the best value now and hope that this was just a down season. At 25, he could help the Canadiens for numerous years and give goaltending prospects like Frederik Dichow and Jakob Dobes time to develop properly in the Canadiens’ system. Samsonov could also complement Cayden Primeau when he gets to the NHL, and the Habs can have two goalie tandem as Laval uses with Primeau and Kevin Poulin.

 

Marc-Andre Fleury

Marc-Andre Fleury is probably the top unrestricted free agent (UFA) next season. He is currently with the Minnesota Wild after starting the season with the Chicago Blackhawks and is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner for a top goalie in the NHL. Fleury has a history of winning and is one of the best goaltenders of this generation. If the Canadiens want to shed Price’s contract and still have a top-level goaltender, Fleury is the way to go. This will also depend on the organization’s direction in a rebuild or a quick turnaround. If it’s a rebuild, Fleury is not needed, but if they want to be a playoff team as soon as possible, he is the best choice.

Author: Lucy Green