Montreal swung their second trade of the season with Calgary on Wednesday but it wasn’t anywhere near as significant as the first as they dealt goalie Michael McNiven to the Flames for future considerations.
The 24-year-old had been with the Canadiens since signing with them as an undrafted free agent back in 2015. However, while he had been in the organization that long, he didn’t play much, only playing in 87 games with their affiliates (AHL and ECHL) over parts of six seasons. There were several times where he was basically the odd man out on the depth chart and at one point, he was left to fend for himself to find ice to practice on.
McNiven has struggled considerably this season, posting a 4.04 GAA with a .869 SV% in 11 games with Laval which recently saw him get demoted to third-string status with the Rocket, especially with Kevin Poulin recently being named AHL Goalie of the Month. An assignment to Trois-Rivieres of the ECHL would have required his approval but instead, it appears the Habs have found him an opportunity to at least stay in the AHL.
In all likelihood, the future considerations won’t amount to anything. However, it frees up an NHL contract slot which might be useful down the stretch if Montreal needs to take contracts back as they move some of their veterans. It also helps give them the ability to burn the first year of an entry-level deal for a college prospect knowing they have an extra contract slot available. We’ll see over the next few weeks if that comes in handy or not.