Backup Goaltender: Checked. Next?

The Montreal Canadiens have announced that they have acquired goaltender Jake Allen from the St. Louis Blues, along with their 7th round pick (in 2022?!?). Heading the other way is a 7th round pick (Chicago) and a 3rd round pick (Capitals). Chicago’s pick was acquired in the Andrew Shaw trade while the Capitals’ 3rd round pick was acquired in the Ilya Kovalchuk trade at trade deadline.

By doing so, Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin has filled a huge hole in his line-up as Allen is a high quality backup capable to be a starter in case of an injury to Carey Price. He knows full well what his role will be and he seems to be excited about it.

“I’m obviously really excited to be a Montreal Canadien now. The role I’ll be playing is behind one of the best goalies in the world, and a guy who’s been a dominant force in the League. It’s to provide just another assurance for the team. I feel like I played that role last year very well behind [Jordan] Binnington; I thought I had a solid season. I’ve played quite a few years in the League and I have a lot of experience in different situations. I feel like I can come into this spot, give Carey breaks when he needs them and play well for the team and go from there. I’m looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity.”

Funny enough, there is some familiarity for Allen with Montreal and even their staff. A dozen years ago, Joël Bouchard and Dominique Ducharme were both assistant-coaches with the Montreal Juniors in the QMJHL. The Fredericton, N-B native played with Xavier Ouellet in junior as well.

Allen watched the Habs in the playoffs and he liked what he saw. He’s excited about helping them going forward.

“Watching the Canadiens in the playoffs this year from afar, they look like a real force to be reckoned with in the next coming years. It’s really exciting to join a group like that, that’s on its way up with a lot of key veteran pieces as well.”

Much like Price, Allen loves fishing and hunting, and he too loves country music. For those reasons, he feels like he’ll be able to connect with the Canadiens’ starter, sharing the same hobbies.

Some folks are complaining that the Habs now have $15 million tied up in goaltending alone. What they forget is that Allen only has one year left to his deal. His cap hit is $4.35 million for next season. Also, this move gives the team top goaltending prospect Cayden Primeau another year to be the starter in Laval.

What next?

Even by adding Allen to the line-up, the Canadiens still have $14.8 million available with 16 players signed. Many feel like Bergevin had two, three and even four pressing needs going into the off-season.

  • Quality backup goaltender
  • Scoring winger
  • Left handed top-4 defenseman
  • Get bigger at forward

Bergevin can now check one of them off his list of things to do. Much work remains no doubt, but he didn’t wait for the playoffs to be over to start his shopping. There’s definitely more to come so stay tuned. And please be careful with rumours. Notice that no one saw this one coming? That’s Bergevin for you. If it’s out there, it’s likely all made up. Go Habs Go!

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