Allen – Not Vegas’ Only Option

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.

Cayden Primeau

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.

Vegas options

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.

LAKJonathan Quick462.59.9101 yr – $5.8M
PITCasey DeSmith262.79.9142 yrs – $1.8M
NYISemyon Varlamov312.91.9111 yr – $5M
SJSJames Reimer482.92.9111 yr – $2.25M
MTLJake Allen353.30.9051 yr – $2.875M
CHIPetr Mrazek203.34.8882 yrs – $3.8M
SEAMartin Jones353.42.9001 yr – $2M
DALAnton Khudobin93.63.8791 yr – $3.33M
CBJJoonas Korpisalo224.15.8771 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.

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Dadonov For Weber’s Contract – The Impact

By JD Lagrange – The Montreal Canadiens were trying to unload Shea Weber’s contract. Many people felt like the Arizona Coyotes were the likely destination for him, as they are trying to reach the salary cap floor. But instead, the Vegas Golden Knights, another team in cap hell, were the most creative by freeing up over $12 million of cap space.

Kelly McCrimmon, GM of the Golden Knights, sent Evgeni Dandonov and his one-year, $5 million dollar cap hit, to the Canadiens and acquired Shea Weber’s contract, he who likely will never play hockey again. Why is it creative? Because not only does Vegas unload $5 million in cap space, they now can surpass the cap by a maximum of the value of Weber’s cap hit, which sits at $7.857 million for four more seasons. So ultimately, the Golden Knights have freed-up a potential of $12.857 million in cap expenditure with that trade.

As for Kent Hughes and the Canadiens, they a 33 year-old winger on the final year of his contract. Dandonov managed 20 goals and 43 points in 78 games last season in Vegas. While his cap hit sits at $5 million, his actual salary is $6.5 million. But hey… we’re not the ones forking out the money, right? That’s on Geoff Molson.

Further, while acquiring a 33 year-old on a fairly expansive contract doesn’t make sense for the Canadiens next season, we can expect at least one of Jonathan Drouin, Mike Hoffman or Dandonov himself to be traded this summer. Drouin and Dandonov are in the final year of their contract, so if I were a betting man, I’d wager on Hoffman being traded. If the Habs aren’t in a playoffs’ position by trade deadline, Drouin and Dandonov could be trade baits at that time.

The tweet of the day may just belong to a NHL team Twitter that has nothing to do with the trade. As the Golden Knights announced the trade, they worded it as acquiring Shea Weber. The Anaheim Ducks replied: “You sure?”

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