While goaltender Carey Price
did play in the last game of the season for the Montreal Canadiens, he was very uncertain on whether he'll be in the crease next year. In fact, he was clear that a full season simply isn't doable with the way his knee is feeling right now. In an interview with 91.9 Sports in Montreal, Habs GM Kent Hughes was asked what would happen if Price can't play. He was blunt about the prospect of another goaltender already in the organization taking over the number one spot.
"We have no one in our organization who has shown that he can be a number one in the NHL," replied Hughes.
That means the hunt would be on for a new starter in Montreal should Price decide he can't play. From a team perspective, he would hopefully figure that out one way or the other before the 2022-23 season begins.
For goaltenders in the system currently, Montreal has Jake Allen
, who has proven he can be an effective backup but not necessarily a number one. There's also prospect Cayden Primeau
, who has put up good numbers with the Laval Rocket of the AHL, but has struggled in his 18 games in the NHL, going 3-10-2 with a 4.21 goals against average and a .874 save percentage. Sam Montembeault saw a lot of action in the Canadiens' crease this season due to injuries. However, Montembeault was on a one-year contract that expires on July 1st. There has been no indication so far that Montreal is looking to extend the restricted free agent. He will become unrestricted if he does not receive a qualifying offer.
The list of notable goaltenders becoming free agents after this season includes Marc-Andre Fleury
, Darcy Kuemper
, Mikko Koskinen, Thomas Greiss, Jaroslav Halak, and Joonas Korpisalo
. Montreal could also look at trading for a goalie if Price isn't healthy enough to return.