By JD Lagrange – With the news that Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner will be missing the entire 2022-23 season, needing hip surgery, speculations have been mounting around the league about the team’s goaltending situation. And when you’re in Montreal, people are quick at jumping on the Jake Allen trade train…
Forgetting that the status of Carey Price is still unknown – and won’t be known until he really pushes his training on-ice – fans and some media members are pushing their “tanking” agenda.
Unlike the people working in the business, these people feel like it’s not important to have players, particularly goaltenders, play in positions to have success. They have already forgotten that just a few months ago, the organization came close to ruining the development of their best hope for the future in net, by playing Cayden Primeau at a level he’s not ready for.
Trading Allen means that if Price can’t go, they will need to rely on Samuel Montembeault as the starter. How great is that for a team’s confidence? Worse, the next in line is Primeau to back him up. But what’s best for the young man and his development? Being a backup at a level that he’s not quite ready for, or play a full season as the starter in a league (AHL) where he can get some confidence and success? Asking the question is also answering it.
Some of the Habs’ fans seem to think that Jake Allen is the only option, or their best option. It’s simply not the case. Of course, anyone can make a case for Allen but it doesn’t mean that it will hold water… particularly when not knowing exactly what the Golden Knights’ organization has in mind.
Here’s a list of potential candidates for which Vegas might be able to pick from. Of course, some carry more cap, and some are more proven than others. But those are all NHL veterans with a lot of experience.
|LAK||Jonathan Quick||46||2.59||.910||1 yr – $5.8M|
|PIT||Casey DeSmith||26||2.79||.914||2 yrs – $1.8M|
|NYI||Semyon Varlamov||31||2.91||.911||1 yr – $5M|
|SJS||James Reimer||48||2.92||.911||1 yr – $2.25M|
|MTL||Jake Allen||35||3.30||.905||1 yr – $2.875M|
|CHI||Petr Mrazek||20||3.34||.888||2 yrs – $3.8M|
|SEA||Martin Jones||35||3.42||.900||1 yr – $2M|
|DAL||Anton Khudobin||9||3.63||.879||1 yr – $3.33M|
|CBJ||Joonas Korpisalo||22||4.15||.877||1 yr – $1.3M|
Lehner’s $5 million salary will obviously join Shea Weber’s contract on the long term injury reserve (LTIR). Also, teams can always retain some salary or take a contract back in any trade with Vegas.
If you combine the fact that it makes little to no sense for the Canadiens to trade Allen at this point, and add the names of some of the trade candidates mentioned above, Kent Hughes doesn’t have the big end of the stick as some Habs’ fans are claiming.
The Golden Knights, while in a predicament, have options and the return for a career backup – although a good one – would certainly not be worth jeopardizing the future of the Montreal Canadiens organization.
At trade deadline however, particularly if Price is back in form, look for teams in need of goaltending to be knocking at the Canadiens’ door for Allen.