Fantasy Trades – Goaltenders Edition

We have recently looked at potential return from three key defensemen, explored the possible destinations for the Montreal Canadiens’ top forwards and what utility forwards could fetch in a trade. Today, we finalize our series of fantasy trades with the goaltenders. This one, perhaps more so than the other positions, is even more speculative due to a couple of uncertainties: the health of Carey Price and Jake Allen, and what the plans are from the new management team of Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes regarding the goaltending situation.

Carey Price

Carey Price

If the Canadiens even trade Price, and that’s a big if, it’s very unlikely to occur by trade deadline. For one, he has yet to return to his regular training, let alone play in a game. No one in their right mind will trade for a guy whose uncertain future could mean an early retirement. Then, there’s his contract: four more years with a cap hit of $10.5 million, with a no-movement clause. It not only limits where Price would accept to play, but those teams would have to want or need him and be able to take on his contract. It is my humble opinion that if the Habs are to keep $4-5 million of Price’s cap hit, they might as well keep him. They would also have to pay another starter, therefore not saving much, if anything.

I could see the Edmonton Oilers circling back on Price, particularly if they don’t make the playoffs or suffer an early elimination in the playoffs. They are also at the cap but when a team is desperate enough to sign a known cancer like Evander Kane, it speaks volume. They are wasting Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl’s prime years with patch jobs in net. I want Evan Bouchard but with the year he’s having, they’re not trading him.

Carey Price (G)Jesse Puljujärvi (RW/LW) + cap dump
AGE: 23
6’4″ 201 lbs
Draft: 2016 EDM, 1st rd, 4th pk

A combination of size and skills, he’s a good goals’ scorer and playmaker. He won’t win the fastest skater competition but he does have good speed. His hockey IQ is his downfall and like most young players, he still needs work with his defensive coverage. I would be curious to see a talented player like him under Martin St-Louis.

Jake Allen

Jake Allen

The case of Jake Allen is an interesting one. Acquired by the Canadiens in a trade from the St. Louis Blues, he accepted a substantial pay cut to stay in Montreal for two more years. He has one year left to his deal after this season. But there are a few teams desperate to find an improvement in goal for their playoffs’ push and because of his contract ($2.875 million), he is affordable for teams close to the cap. While he may not be plan “A” like a Marc-André Fleury, for example, he is an excellent plan “B”.

There are a few potential destinations for Allen but I choose the Washington Capitals. Even by adding to the deal, dreaming of Hendrix Lapierre might be aiming too high. But as the Caps have been scouting the Habs and rumours are rampant about Montreal’s interest in Ilya Samsonov, a swap is not impossible. Who knows? Maybe if the Canadiens were to add Artturi Lehkonen to the deal, whom the Capitals apparently really like…

Jake Allen (G) + Artturi Lehkonen (LW)Ilya Samsonov (G) + 1st rd pk
AGE: 25
6’3″ 208 lbs
Draft: 2015 WAS, 1st rd, 22nd pk

Great size, excellent athleticism, he is a very good reactionary goaltender. He has struggled with consistency and his rebound control needs some work, but as we’ve covered in the Cayden Primeau development article recently, most goalies tend to start putting it together at 25-26 years old.

No easy task

Let’s be honest here. If the Canadiens trade even one of their two goaltenders, they will be weaker in net and that, even if Price stays. We have to go back almost then years to find when the Canadiens last had a good backup goaltender with Peter Budaj. Ever since then, trying to find a half decent goalie to give Price some rest has been a parade of failed experiments.

  • Dustin Tokarski
  • Mike Condon
  • Ben Scriven
  • Charlie Lindgren
  • Al Montoya
  • Antti Niemi

“How would you like a job where when you made a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo you?” ~ Jacques Plante

On a franchise that has seen the likes of Georges Vezina, George Hainsworth, Bill Durnan, Jacques Plante, Gump Worsley, Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy and now Carey Price, we are wired solid in the mindset of seeing top quality goaltending. Even with the best in net, fans and media are extremely critical if the goaltender makes one little mistake, allows what they consider to be one “bad goal”. The expressions “he should have had that” or “he’d like to get that one back” seem to have originated from Montreal.

More reading…

Carey Price: The Man Behind The Mask

All-Times Montreal Canadiens Goaltenders

RDS: Habs Interested in Samsonov

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