The Montreal Canadiens have extended goaltender Samuel Montembault to a two-year, one-way contract extension. The 25-year-old played in 38 games for the Canadiens this past season. Montembault was drafted by Florida in the third round (77th overall) in the 2015 NHL entry draft.
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Samuel Montembault Stays at Home
Montembault, a native of Becancour, Quebec (about 90 minutes from Montreal) had the opportunity to prove himself as a competent goalie option with the Habs this past year. Due to a slew of injuries, the third-string goaltender was thrown into the starter’s net for over a third of the NHL season, playing a team-leading 38 games. The 25-year-old was claimed on waivers from the Florida Panthers on October 2nd, 2021, and proceeded to only start only 13 games in his first four months. However, when Jake Allen was injured in late January, he became the Habs best option in net.
Montembault opted not to file for salary arbitration Sunday, as there was mutual interest in an extension. His contract carries a cap hit of $1,000,000, and expires after the 2023-24 season. Montembault will expire as an unrestricted free agent. This two-year extension represents the first multi-year deal (barring his entry-level contract) of Montembault’s career, having signed three subsequent one-year deals post-ELC.
Montembault’s numbers this past season (.891 save percentage, 3.77 goals against average) don’t tell the whole picture of his true performance. Apart from playing on the 32nd-ranked team, Montembault played with a wrist injury for most of the latter half of the season. He earned his first NHL shutout versus Buffalo on February 23rd. At 6’3″ and 199 lbs, Montembault is very athletic and excels in lateral movement. However, he does sometimes find himself out of position, and his playmaking isn’t very refined.
What This Means
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Montembault remaining in the Canadiens organization allows much more flexibility in the net. In a goaltending tandem with Jake Allen, the Habs are stable enough to play if Carey Price cannot return. Montembault equally allows goaltender Cayden Primeau to remain in the AHL to develop. The 25-year-old’s numbers may not be strong, but he is a fan favourite and has room to improve. Fully healthy, Montembault could easily establish himself as a competent backup option this upcoming season. Having Carey Price around as a mentor equally can’t hurt his development.
The team in front of Montembault will look very different this year, with the Canadiens making significant moves on defence. Having traded Jeff Petry and Alexander Romanov, and having brought in Mike Matheson, Montembault will once again have to stay solid in behind a young, inexperienced defensive corps.