How Much For A Goaltender?

By JD Lagrange – The way Marc Bergevin started, and Kent Hughes is continuing with the Draft and development, the Canadiens don’t need a saviour in net. They don’t need another Carey Price or Patrick Roy. What they do need however, is a goaltender who is a legitimate starter, a true number one or a 1-A as they say, one who can play at least 55 games a year and be effective.

Looking at the young defensemen coming up, looking at the style of play that Martin St-Louis preaches, this team is not without reminding me of the 90’s Detroit Red Wings. If you recall back then, Chris Osgood didn’t need to steal games for Mike Babcock and his team. He needed to stop the first shot and avoid giving up bad goals.

What the Canadiens simply cannot afford to do is to become the new Toronto Maple Leafs and have a contending team while being unable to find suitable goaltending. That’s why they must act soon and address the issue.

Recent goalie trades

The good news is that historically, goaltenders rarely fetched as much as skaters in trades. I have decided to dress a list of some of the goaltenders who have been traded in the past couple of years. Notice the return…

MARCH 2, 2023
– Jonathan Quick (G)– Michael Hutchinson (G)
– 7th rd pick
– Jakub Voracek
– 6th rd pick
– Jon Gillies (G)
– Max Domi
– Dylan Wells (G)
– Anton Khudobin (G)
– 2nd rd pick
MARCH 1, 2023
– Jonathan Quick (G)
– 1st rd pick
– 3rd rd pick
– Vladislav Gavrikov
– Joonas Korpisalo (G)
– Erik Portillo (G)– 3rd rd pick
AUGUST 29, 2022
– Adin Hill (G)– 4th rd pick
JULY 13, 2022
– Brent Burns
– Lane Pederson
– Steven Lorentz
– Eetu Makiniemi (G)
– 3rd rd pick
– Cam Talbot (G)– Filip Gustavsson (G)
JULY 11, 2022
– Matt Murray (G)
– 3rd rd pick
– 7th rd pick
– Future considerations
JULY 8, 2022
– Ville Husso (G)– 3rd rd pick
JULY 7, 2022
– Alexandar Georgiev (G)– 3rd rd pick
– 5th rd pick
– 3rd rd pick
– Petr Mrazek
– 1st rd pick
– 2nd rd pick
MARCH 21, 2022
– Kaapo Kahkonen (G)
– 5th rd pick
– Jacob Middleton
MARCH 20, 2022
– Scott Wedgewood (G)– 4th rd pick

In more details

Now let’s focus on a few goaltenders that are more along what the Canadiens would be looking for when it comes to not only skills and potential, but also in age. Those are the stats they were displaying PRIOR to the trade, so we see what GMs saw in those goaltenders at the time of pulling the trigger.

Kaapo Kahkonen252019-20Minnesota Wild52.93.905
2020-21Minnesota Wild242.88.902
2021-22Minnesota Wild252.87.910
San Jose Sharks112.86.916
Alexandar Georgiev262017-18NY Rangers103.15.918
2018-19NY Rangers332.91.914
2019-20NY Rangers343.04.910
2020-21NY Rangers192.71.905
2021-22NY Rangers332.92.898
Ville Husso262020-21St. Louis Blues173.21.893
2021-22St. Louis Blues402.56.919
Eetu Makiniemi232020-21Ilves (Liiga)342.59.907
2021-22Chicago Wolves142.06.922
Adin Hill262019-20Arizona Coyotes132.62.918
2020-21Arizona Coyotes192.74.913
2021-22San Jose Sharks252.66.906
Erik Portillo212020-21Univ. of Michigan71.67.935
2021-22Univ. of Michigan422.14.926
* at the time of the trade

As a measure of comparison, I want to include Carter Hart, who has been in trade rumours ever since Daniel Briere took over as GM of the Philadelphia Flyers. We’ll get back to him later, but as those stats are fresh in mind…

Carter Hart242022-23Philadelphia Flyers552.94.907
CareerPhiladelphia Flyers2012.96.906

Also, let’s not forget that the Toronto Maple Leafs were able to sign Ilya Samsonov because he wasn’t qualified by the Washington Capitals. Samsonov was a first round pick in 2015 and was only 25 years old when the Caps gave up on him. In 89 games with the Capitals, he was 52-22-8 with a 2.81 goals against average and a .902 saves percentage. The Leafs got him… for free.

As you can see, the price of acquiring goaltenders is not comparable to the price paid to acquire good forwards or defensemen. So it is my strong believe that the potential acquisition of Pierre-Luc Dubois would not affect in any way Kent Hughes’ ability to address the team’s need between the pipes.

Now if you’re curious about what it could cost the Canadiens to get Dubois, I have recently provided readers with comparatives both in trade value and in contracts.

Canadiens’ options

I have also recently provided a list of five potential trade targets for Kent Hughes to address the goaltending position. They are:

  1. Carter Hart
  2. Yaroslav Askarov
  3. Dustin Wolf
  4. Jesper Wallstedt
  5. Hugo Alnefelt

Even for Hart, the Canadiens don’t need the Panthers’ first round pick to acquire him. They can save that pick to get Dubois, if they wish to do so, which seems to be the case. But remember this when it comes to acquiring players… Giving assets in a trade is not a bad thing.

Not only have the Habs drafted 49 prospects since the reset of 2018, but they still have 28 other picks from now until 2025. The prospect pool is full in both quality and quantity, with several of them either on the team or turning professional.

Fans seldom think of that, but there is such thing as prospects saturation. Teams cannot have more than 50 players under contract at one time. As you can clearly see, not only do the Canadiens have plenty of assets, but they are reaching the saturation point.

For what it’s worth, I believe that Montreal will do two things this off-season to address their goaltending issues.

  1. They will trade for an improvement over what they currently have. What they’ll do with Jake Allen or Samuel Montembeault remains to be seen. Remember that Cayden Primeau will now have to go through waivers to be sent down.
  2. They will use a second or third round pick to select a goalie, one with more upside than what they currently have in the system.

Playoffs Bound?

In his last press conference, Kent Hughes mentioned that the expectations on the players will be changing next season. He says that they will not be entering the season thinking that they will be out of the playoffs. If he thinks that, he has to have a plan in mind to help these guys move forward. I can see them battling for a playoffs spot if at least a couple of of the following events happen:

  • Get lucky at the lottery and select someone who can have an impact immediately…
  • If the Canadiens can get an improvement in net…
  • Get Dubois at a reasonable price…
  • The potential trade of Joel Edmundson with a decent return…
  • The possibility of finding a right-handed defenseman to play ahead of David Savard and Johnathan Kovacevic…
  • Be healthy enough not to be the team with the most man-games lost to injuries for a third year in a row…

That’s a lot of ifs, isn’t it? But I think that all are quite realistic. The most difficult might be the right-handed defenseman and getting lucky at the Draft. Either way, if you’re thinking of seeing the Canadiens tanking for another year, be prepared to be very disappointed. The self-proclaimed Tank Nation is dead or at the very least, it will count fewer members.

Addressing Goaltending: 5 Options

By JD Lagrange – It’s been another long, tough season for the Montreal Canadiens. While some young prospects stepped in and took advantage to show what they could do, this season has solidified what many of us suspected when it comes to the organization’s goaltending situation.

Jake Allen was brought in to be Carey Price’s backup and has been asked to carry the load as the starter for the past two seasons. He’s not a starter. Samuel Montembeault is a waivers pick up and while he has show some good things from time to time, he will never amount to more than a NHL back up. Cayden Primeau started slowly in Laval but he finished strong. His future is still a question mark as a potential NHL starter. And the Canadiens just recently signed prospect Jakub Dobes, who is playing third string in Laval.

One of the most common mistake fans make is to make a judgment about a player’s statistics and make their mind from that. It is a particularly faulty way of assessing players, particularly when it comes to goaltenders, particularly when under the age of 25. More often than not, they take longer to develop than players at other positions. In fact, if you look around the NHL, many of the current best goalies didn’t have their breakout season until they turned 25, 26 years of age.


Kent Hughes cannot afford to do what the Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers have been doing. Both Canadian teams have a strong line-up, but they are stuck with patch jobs in net, which prevents them from having any playoffs’ success. While some fans claim that it’s easy to find a good goaltender, NHL teams know this to be as far to reality as it gets. It’s no different than any other position.

Thanks to Marc Bergevin’s reset of 2018 onwards, and the team’s struggles the past couple of seasons, the Canadiens are loaded with quality prospects and draft picks. Those assets can be used to plug the gaping hole the team has in front of their net by luring a good, young goaltender who can grow with the team. Just as the Pittsburgh Penguins did with Marc-André Fleury who grew with the Crosby, Malkin, Letang and company.

So without further ado, here’s a list of five goaltenders that the Canadiens should be having a close look at this summer, in order to address a serious organizational need.

1- Carter Hart

AGE:24 (Aug.13)TEAM:Philadelphia Flyers
WEIGHT:180 lbsGAA:2.94
DRAFT:PHI 2nd rd pick (48th) in 2016Sv%:.907

Rumour are that the Flyers might make Hart available, and if that’s the case, the Canadiens should be all over this. At 24, the Sherwood Park, Alberta native is just about ready to enter his prime years and he would fit right into the core group assembled in Montreal. You can teach talent and skills and Hart oozes both.

2- Yaroslav Askarov

AGE:20 (Jun.16)TEAM:Milwaukee Admirals
WEIGHT:180 lbsGAA:2.69
DRAFT:NSH 1st rd pick (11th) in 2020Sv%:.912

Ranked second best goaltending prospect by The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler. Matthew Zator, of the Hockey Writers, has him at number three. This is Askarov’s first season in North America.

3- Dustin Wolf

AGE:21 (Nov.14)TEAM:Calgary Wranglers
WEIGHT:175 lbsGAA:2.08
DRAFT:CGY 7th rd pick (214th) in 2019Sv%:.932

Ranked third by Scott Wheeler, while Matthew Zator has him number one. Wolf made his NHL debut last night in Calgary against the dreadful San Jose Sharks. He saved 23 of 24 shots in his direction in a 3-1 win. This is Wolf’s second good season in the AHL. Last season he had a 2.35 GAA and a .924 Sv%. He was as good in the playoffs: 2.23 GAA .929 Sv%.

4- Jesper Wallstedt

AGE:20 (Nov.14)TEAM:Iowa Wild
WEIGHT:214 lbsGAA:2.70
DRAFT:MIN 1st rd pick (20th) in 2021Sv%:.908

Ranked first by Scott Wheeler of The Athletic and number two by the Hockey Writer’s Matthew Zator. Like Askarov, this was Wallsteadt’s first season in North America.

5- Hugo Alnefelt

AGE:21 (Jun.4)TEAM:Syracuse Crunch
WEIGHT:200 lbsGAA:2.72
DRAFT:TBL 3rd rd pick (71st) in 2019Sv%:.906

This was Alnefelt’s second season in North America. No need to say that with Vasilevskiy in Tampa, there won’t be room for him for a long time.

NOTE: You will notice that we didn’t put the name of Dollard-des-Ormeaux native Devon Levi on that list. That’s because the Sabres have not only signed him, but they are having a close look at him in the NHL right now and he’s doing well. He is very unlikely to be available. The same might be said of Wolf or other young goaltenders on this list.

2023 Draft

Of course, there’s always the option of using a higher pick to select a goaltender. But those won’t be NHL-ready for at least 4-5-6 years down the road. If I’m Kent Hughes, I do both. The Canadiens have 11 picks at the upcoming NHL Draft so use one of the early picks, the late first of the Florida Panthers, or their own second or third round pick to select a good goaltending prospect. It will take time before he’s NHL ready anyway.

My colleague Bob Trask dressed a list, a few weeks ago, on the best goaltending prospects available at this year’s NHL Draft. You can also have a look at the NHL’s Central Scouting’s list for both, North-American goaltenders and European goalie prospects.