There has been some uncertainty surrounding Montreal’s goaltending situation with Carey Price’s availability for the start of the season in question. As a result, the Habs opted to add some more depth at the position on Saturday, claiming Samuel Montembeault off waivers from Florida.
The 24-year-old was a third-round pick of Florida back in 2015 and has spent the bulk of his four-year professional career at the AHL level. Last season, he played in 13 games with Syracuse of the AHL on a split affiliation with Tampa Bay’s affiliate (Florida’s opted out of participating), posting a 2.86 GAA with a .898 SV%.
However, Montembeault does have some NHL experience under his belt, playing in 25 games with Florida between the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. It’s likely that extra bit of experience that helped push Montreal to put in a claim as if Price isn’t available, they’d be forced to have either Cayden Primeau or Michael McNiven serving as Jake Allen’s backup. With the claim, both of them can go to Laval (McNiven would need to pass through waivers first).
Montembeault is on a one-year, two-way contract that pays $750,000 in the NHL, $250,000 in the AHL, and has a guarantee of $350,000. He’s eligible for restricted free agency with arbitration rights next summer but will need to play in six NHL games with at least 30 minutes of action to qualify. Otherwise, he’ll be eligible for Group Six unrestricted free agency in July.
In other news Saturday, Lukas Vejdemo was placed on waivers as expected after he was cut following Friday’s game in Ottawa. The Habs made two other cuts early on Saturday, sending goalie Kevin Poulin and winger Danick Martel to Laval. Both players are on AHL contracts this season. Meanwhile, defenceman Sami Niku was diagnosed with a concussion and is out indefinitely.