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Mathias Brunet: He believes Samuel Montembeault doesn’t need to be a number one goalie

I don’t know where you stand on Mathias Brunet, but I love him. Along with Martin Leclerc of Radio-Canada, he’s one of my favorite journalists covering the Montreal Canadiens. His love of prospects and the principle of rebuilding resonates very well with me.

As a bonus, in an environment where the club is being asked to aim for the playoffs season after season, rather than taking the most efficient route to winning the Stanley Cup, his voice is refreshing in the media landscape.

In his most recent column on BPM Sports with Martin Lemay, Brunet made a statement that made me cringe a little, even though I understand his point.

According to him, Samuel Montembeault doesn’t really need to be a number-one goaltender for the Habs to be successful. The margin between the current Samuel and his optimal version wouldn’t be very big. So Brunet believes that the real payoff isn’t in Montembeault, but in the players around him on defense.

With the exception of Connor Hellebuyck, there aren’t really any number-one goalies left in their team’s cage for around 70 games a season. The Quebec goaltender isn’t one of those, and in any case, he’s a dying breed league-wide. So, it’s not Samuel’s goal we need to win, but the defenders in front of him.

Kaiden Guhle, Arber Xhekaj, Jordan Harris, Lane Hutson, Justin Barron, Logan Mailloux and David Reinbacher, to name but a few, all have a lot to learn before they reach their peak on the ice.

I said at the outset that I cringed when I heard Mathias Brunet, but that’s mainly because I find it limiting for the player to be told that he can’t really improve. In life, you can always improve, especially at 26.

But I understand his point. Beyond the fact that he can’t get much better (according to Brunet, of course), the gain to be made on defense is truly enormous. The journalist points out that Monty’s numbers at the World Championship are mind-boggling. In his opinion, this proves that he can get the job done with the right support.

He also points out that a guy like Adin Hill, an unknown quantity before the last series, was able to shine behind a top-notch defensive brigade.

Today, Hill has more Stanley Cup rings than Carey Price, Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist combined, yet only a fraction of their respective talents.

In other words, Mathias Brunet believes that Samuel Montembeault doesn’t need to be a number-one goaltender, because that’s not necessarily what teams need to win anymore.

Although I grit my teeth a little, I have no choice but to give him the point.

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by u/greenwri in BostonBruins

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