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Samuel Montembeault: numerically equal, he is (truly) among the NHL’s elite

Since the start of the season, the three-man team in front of the Canadiens’ net has been the talk of the town. There’s a lot of talk about how to divide the workload between the three goaltenders… but most of all, there’s the question of who’s going to end up leaving.

I still think it will be Jake Allen or Cayden Primeau, but if the Oilers offer the moon for Samuel Montembeault (who seems to interest them more than Allen), that could still change.

But let’s talk about the Quebecer. Even if his season hasn’t always been easy so far, his numbers after eight games are far from bad. His 3-3-1 record, 2.78 goals-against average and 0.908 save percentage are solid, especially when you consider the club in front of him.

And tonight, Renaud Lavoie brought up an interesting point during his column on the JiC show: when you look at the 5-on-5 numbers (and eliminate the guys who’ve played less than eight games), Montembeault is squarely among the league’s elite.

In fact, he leads the league in efficiency (0.949) and goals-against average (1.40) when each team has five players on the ice. He’s ahead of the likes of Jeremy Swayman, Linus Ullmark, Igor Shesterkin and Ilya Sorokin, no less.

I don’t know if the Quebecer’s clan is using those numbers in the goalie’s contract negotiations, but we agree that it makes him look pretty good. The fact that he’s one of the best 5-on-5 goaltenders in the league is something to brag about.

And when we look at the bigger picture at even strength (i.e., if we include 4-on-4 and 3-on-3 situations), once again the CH goaltender looks good.

John Gibson is clearly becoming a monster in overtime, hehe.

(Credit: Screenshot/

That said, when you look at all this, one question comes to mind: how come the Quebecer’s numbers aren’t better if he’s so good on even strength?

The answer is quite simple: it’s much harder for him when the CH is down a man. His efficiency rate (0.855) is truly ordinary.

Since the beginning of the year, we’ve been saying that the Habs need to find a way to be more disciplined, and obviously, it’s even more important to be more disciplined when Montembeault is in front of the net. He really isn’t as effective short-handed as he is at even strength, and that’s hurting the Tricolore.

It’s hard to blame him when he spends so much time shorthanded, but as much as the guys need to help him, he needs to help himself.

On the other hand, let’s at least give him a ton of credit for his excellent work on the power play: without his excellent performances, the CH might not even have kept its head above water since the start of the year.

And that could mean big bucks on his next contract.

In bursts

– According to Pat Laprade, the PWHL season may not start until January 2024. [TVA Sports]

– Better late than never… or not.

– Patrice Bergeron doesn’t know if he’ll be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Yeah right. [JDM]

– A Russian player expelled from his team for stealing sticks from his team’s locker room. However, he has already signed a contract with another team.

– To be continued.

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