NHL News

Canadiens Need to Rebuild Goaltending Depth 

Semyon Varlamov New York Islanders

From Carey Price all the way back to Georges Vezina, the Montreal Canadiens have a long and rich history of star goaltenders. With the team rebuilding, they will need to identify and develop the next long-term starting goaltender that will backstop this franchise during what they hope will be a long period of Stanley Cup contention. 

Related: Canadiens’ Injury Issues Need to be Solved for Future Seasons 

The Habs’ system has a handful of goaltending prospects, Cayden Primeau, Frederik Dichow and Jakub Dobes. While Dobes and Dichow have some untapped potential, currently, none seem to be what general manager (GM) Kent Hughes is comfortable calling a “future NHL starter.”   

Canadiens Free Agent Option 

Montreal could wait for July 1st and try to attract a new free agent to fill the role of starter. The options are limited to some aging talent, but none are proven starting goaltenders. 

Semyon Varlamov is an option, but at 37 years of age, his time in the NHL is coming to an end, and he may decide to sign with a contender to have the option to win, even as a backup. Ilya Samsonov is another option. At 26 years of age, he would be a better fit with the age of the team’s core group. The question that will need to be answered is if his .915 save percentage (SV%) is an outlier because he has been playing behind a strong lineup in Toronto.  

Semyon Varlamov, New York Islanders (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The larger concern would be that no one available as a free agent now is really an upgrade over Jake Allen, at least not worth the increased cap hit it would take to sign one.  

Canadiens Trade Options 

The first option if the Habs were to trade for a goaltender is to use assets to bring in a proven starter. On his “32 Thoughts” podcast, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman was discussing with Jeff Marek on the direction the Philadelphia Flyers are looking to take for a rebuild and stated, “I think you’re bang on with Carter Hart, you talked about him Saturday night — I think he’s going to be available”. 

Hart will be 25 years old as he enters the final season of his three-year, $3.979 million per season deal next season. If he is available, he could be of significant interest to a Canadiens squad building a core group around that age group. Also, Hart has all the tools to be a franchise goalkeeper as he approaches his prime, which is not for several more seasons. Trading for him will cost significant draft and prospect capital, but he…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Hockey Writers…