The Montreal Canadiens have $15.6 million tied to their current three-man goaltending unit. Beginning Wednesday morning with one of the league’s very best netminders in 33-year-old Carey Price, as well as a slew of goaltending prospects, the situation between the pipes in Montreal appeared just fine to the untrained eye.
But Habs general manager Marc Bergevin most certainly knew better; the former Chicago Blackhawks draft pick is not one for mediocrity. Shortly after 11:00 AM the Canadiens teamed up with the St. Louis Blues on a deal that saw Jake Allen and a 2022 seventh round draft pick head to Montreal in exchange for third and seventh round picks, both in 2020.
In dealing for the 30-year-old Allen, Montreal now has a proven NHL-calibre player to fill its backup role. With youngsters Cayden Primeau, Michael McNiven and Vasil Demchenko waiting in the wings, the thought may also be on providing Primeau with a heavy AHL workload, as compared to another light NHL season backing up one of the game’s best. Also of note is the fact that the Canadiens are still paying fellow backstops Steve Mason (buyout) and Kieth Kinkaid (buried) to not play for the team.
In trading away Allen’s $4.35 annual cap hit, Blues management is certainly preparing to make a significant signing. Who may that be, you ask? Look no further than pending unrestricted free agent defenceman, and current team captain Alex Pietrangelo. Battling a dormant salary cap and a tight team budget, it appeared as though the reigning Stanley Cup champions would not be able to retain Pietrangelo’s services, but in shedding some necessary expenses, it still may be possible.
“We’d love to get Alex signed,” Blues GM Doug Armstrong said Wednesday. “At the end of the day its a math equation. $81.5 million divided by 23… He’s a great pro. He would do whatever was necessary at practice to make sure everybody was ready to play and he’s going to be someone that the Canadiens organization, from Marc Bergevin down to the training staff, are going to relish having to be part of their group because he’s a quality person on and off the ice, a great teammate.”