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Jake Allen’s contract may have prevented the Canadiens from signing America’s top college goalie

On March 31, Kent Hughes agreed with Jakub Dobes on a two-year contract to end his university career a little early to secure his services. This signing is not insignificant, as the Canadiens are desperately looking for a top-notch future goaltender to replace Carey Price. Until such time as this worthy heir reveals himself to us, the CH has no choice but to put its trust in Samuel Montembeault and Jake Allen. The former is proving to be a pleasant surprise, and his emergence suggests that he could assume the role of number-one goaltender in the coming years. An elite #1? Maybe not, but a legitimate goalie of the standards expected in the NHL, certainly. Jake Allen, on the other hand, is clearly on the decline. Nothing against the person, but on the ice we could all see that his level of play diminished as the season progressed, and that his body could no longer really handle the workload expected of him. Next season, Hughes will have some choices to make. Allen has two more years on his contract, at $1M more than this season, Montembeault has a $1M contract for one more season, and Cayden Primeau is under contract for two seasons at $890,000 and can no longer be recalled to the NHL or returned to the minors without going through the ballot. In other words, there’s one goalie too many for the Habs, and not much certainty on the horizon. Jakob Dobes, on the other hand, is signed for two years and is expected to play only in the AHL, so it’s not really a problem per se. The problem is that if we want Primeau to continue to grow, he’s going to need a place somewhere to play a lot. Knowing where Allen is in his career, he’s clearly not going to end up in the AHL to give up his spot to Primeau to back up Montembeault. The ideal solution would be to turn to youth and trade Allen.

What’s more, Kent Hughes had the opportunity to get his hands on the best goaltender in American colleges, a Quebecer to boot, and couldn’t do it because he couldn’t guarantee him a two-way contract, NHL and AHL. The name? Yaniv Perets from Dollard-des-Ormeaux, who was playing for Quinnipiac University this season. In 41 games, he racked up 34 wins, an efficiency rating of .931 and a goals-against average of 1.49. Without Allen’s contract, the organization’s four goaltenders could have been Samuel Montembeault, Cayden Primeau, Jakub Dobes and Perets. Monty would have been the dean of the group at 26, and all of a sudden, you have 4 options to find your famous replacement for Carey Price instead of just 3 (and even 2 if Primeau were to be claimed in the ballot if he were to return to Laval). The Habs would find themselves in a completely different universe, and would only have to cross their fingers that the plan works, instead of having to deal with the decline of an injury-riddled #2 goaltender who will receive a nice pay raise and whose inconsistency has been confirmed time and time again. But isn’t Perets with the Hurricanes now? Touché mon cher Watson! Perets did indeed sign a two-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes on April 12. But according to Arpon Basu and Marc Antoine Godin, the Habs have made him a contract offer. So why did he choose the Hurricanes? Simply because the Habs never offered him a two-part contract that would have allowed him to make his mark in both the big league and the club-school.

In other words, Jake Allen’s contract seems to have played big in the equation and it suggests that the CH is stuck with him until the end of his contract. I’ve never understood the eagerness of some NHL executives to sign marginal players to contract extensions a year before the end of their contract. This was the case with Allen, but Brendan Gallagher’s current pact was also signed under similar circumstances, and as we all know, his contract is going to age very badly.

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