By JD Lagrange – Well there you have it. A couple of weeks ago, it had been rumoured that both the Montreal Canadiens and goaltender Jake Allen wanted a deal done, and both sides were working on a contract extension. They have now concluded a deal as Allen put his name at the bottom of a new two-year contract.
Even with the uncertainty surrounding the health and future of Carey Price, even with two totally unproven goaltenders in Samuel Montembeault and Cayden Primeau, they were many who wanted to see the Canadiens trade Allen as the demand was apparently high around the NHL for him. Even with knowing that Price wasn’t starting the season and may not play all season, they still wanted the Habs to trade the veteran goaltender… in order to “tank”!
What they fail to see is that “tanking” is a fan’s way of looking at a very real situation. You see, Geoff Molson and his brothers didn’t get to where they are by trying to “tank”. They thrive on success. Jeff Gorton didn’t make it in hockey operations by trying to lose. Kent Hughes worked his butt off to build a reputable business as a players’ agent, by trying to “win” top notch clients and now, he’s trying to built a new career as a good GM. Martin St-Louis went through too much adversity to want to lose. He’s a winner. Winning is in the coaching staff’s DNA. Finally, the players didn’t get to where they are by accepting to lose. Everyone in the organization wants to win. That’s in them. “Tanking”, it’s a fans’ wet dream.
So Allen signed a two-year extension worth $7.7 million ($3.85 million cap hit) which will kick in after the upcoming season. The 32 year old’s contract comes with a limited no-trade clause for both seasons, and represents a raise of about a million dollar over what he’s currently making annually.
But here what Allen’s signature truly means:
- Marc Bergevin wasn’t too bad at negotiating. Allen was making $4.35 million when the Canadiens acquired him. Bergevin convinced him to accept a two-year, $2.875 million per season contract back when the player was younger and more in his prime.
- He is liked and appreciated, by management and in the dressing room. If he was an issue, they wouldn’t bring him back.
- He likes playing in Montreal. The Fredericton, NB native didn’t have to sign his extension on such a poor team. He could have simply been traded at trade deadline for a chance to win a Cup, rode into the sunset and tested the UFA market next summer.
- There is little to no confidence within the organization that neither Samuel Montembeault or Cayden Primeau can take over as the team’s number one goaltender in the short term. Had they felt confident in them, they would have simply played Allen this year and got another cheaper backup next summer.
The 6-foot 2-inches, 195 lbs netminder played 35 games with the Canadiens last season, registering a 9-20-4 record, a 3.30 GAA and a .905 save percentage. Considering how the rest of the team performed, that’s not bad at all.
So now Habs’ fans, do everyone a favour and please get that “tanking” mentality out of your head. Yes, it’s logical but only from a fans’ point of view. It’s not reality. When it comes to “tanking”, be less of a fan and at least try to see things from the eyes of those who do make the decisions. They are NOT tanking or trying to lose on purpose, and they won’t take steps to do that. Period.