It appears Antti Niemi’s time with Montreal will last for a while longer as following the Habs’ shootout victory on Thursday over Tampa, they traded backup goaltender Al Montoya to Edmonton. In return, the Canadiens receive a conditional 2018 fourth-round draft pick. If Montoya plays in seven games with the Oilers the rest of the regular season, they get the fourth; if not, they receive Edmonton’s fifth-rounder.
Montoya was in his second season with Montreal after signing a two-year extension last January. He had struggled considerably in his four appearances this season though, posting a 3.77 GAA and a .863 SV% in that span. He had been out of the lineup since November 10th due to a concussion which is what prompted GM Marc Bergevin to pick up Niemi in the first place.
In 159 career NHL games between five teams, the 32-year-old has a 65-47-22 record with a 2.63 GAA along with a .908 SV% and seven shutouts.
What is perhaps most noteworthy here is that it gets Montoya and his $1.0625 million cap hit off the books for next season. That potentially frees up a spot for Charlie Lindgren to take over the number two role with the Habs starting in 2018-19.
In the meantime, Montreal is now down to just 43 players under contract out of the limit of 50. That gives them plenty of flexibility to add some depth or take on other contracts in the weeks to come leading up to the trade deadline.