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Canadiens Claim Montembeault off Waivers From Panthers

The Montreal Canadiens chose to claim goaltender Samuel Montembeault off of waivers from the Florida Panthers.

The Montreal Canadiens added to their goaltending depth on Saturday, claiming Samuel Montembeault off waivers from the Florida Panthers.

Montembeault, 24, was drafted in the third-round (77 overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Panthers. To this point in his career, he has played in a total of 25 NHL games, compiling a 3.20 goals against average (GAA) along with a .892 save percentage and a 9-8-3 record.

Related: No NHL Players, Including Travis Hamonic Opt Out of 2021-22 Season

For the 2020-21 season, Montembeault appeared in just 13 games in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Syracuse Crunch. In those 13 games, he posted a subpar 2.86 GAA along with a .898 SV%, however, he was able to put together a solid 8-4-1 record.

For the Panthers’ sake, this isn’t a major loss given the fact they have Sergei Bobrovsky, Spencer Knight, and Christopher Gibson all above him on the depth chart. Had he went unclaimed, he likely would have played a backup role at the AHL level this season.

This move suggests that Carey Price, who underwent knee surgery this offseason, may not be ready to start the 2021-22 season. If that is the case, Montembeault may earn the chance to back up Jake Allen until Price is ready to return.

Samuel Montembeault Montreal Canadiens
Samuel Montembeault Montreal Canadiens

The fact Price may not be ready to go right away is slightly worrying for the Habs, considering in July the expectation was that he would be 100 percent healthy before the season got underway. After his dominating playoff performance last season in which he put up a 2.28 GAA paired with a .924 SV% in 22 starts, it is clear that he is still this team’s best player and will need to be healthy if they want to qualify for the postseason again in 2021-22.

Prior to the acquisition of Montembeault, the two candidates who could have started the season in Montreal as the team’s backup would have been either Cayden Primeau or Michael McNiven, neither of which they are confident can play in that role right now. This acquisition doesn’t cost them anything and gives them an extra option, so you can understand why Marc Bergevin made this decision. Whether it will be beneficial or not remains to be seen.

Next: Sheldon Keefe Signs 2-Year Extension with the Maple Leafs

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