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Charlie Lindgren criticized the way the Habs treated him
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

One of the themes of the Canadiens’ 2023-2024 season will be the three goaltenders.

For the past few weeks, it’s been settled, and that’s good. Jake Allen (New Jersey) and Cayden Primeau are simply on fire, while Samuel Montembeault, even if he doesn’t win often, is playing well.

In fact, Montembeault may be the team’s #1 goalie, but he’s the only one of the three not to have won the Molson Cup. For what it’s worth, of course, but still: it’s ironic.

Right now, there’s a lot of talk about goalie management and how the division of labor will look between now and the end of the campaign. It’s a legitimate question, I think.

Personally, I’d go that way… but I wouldn’t be against giving the Quebecer six starts.

  • Montembeault: April 2, 6, 9, 13 and 16
  • Primeau: April 4, 7, 11 and 15

What’s interesting is that both goalies are doing well and making their place in the NHL despite doubts. They were guys many people doubted at some point in their careers.

Montembeault was placed in the waivers and the Habs took advantage. Primeau was not placed in the waivers (when many people would have been) and the Habs benefited.

In an era of task-sharing, where the likes of Adin Hill and Darcy Kuemper can take their team to the playoffs, keeping every goalie can become increasingly important.

Everyone can help.

The Habs came out on top with Montembeault, but this morning’s article by Pierre LeBrun (The Athletic ) reminds us just how much the team lost out on the Charlie Lindgren deal.

He’s having the season of his career at 30. A goaltender can be a late bloomer.

Of course, we all knew that when the Habs let Lindgren go after the 2021 season, it was time for things to come to an end between the American and the Habs organization. Lindgren had spent the season on the cab squad.

But little did we know that he would become the Capitals’ most important goaltender of the season.

(Credit: Hockey DB)

I don’t think anyone is saying the Habs did a bad job letting him go back in the day, but his 21 wins (one less than Montembeault AND Primeau combined), 2.71 GAA and .911 efficiency rate are impressive.

But clearly, the pandemic season on the reserve squad hurt him. And he made no secret of it, criticizing the Habs in Pierre LeBrun’s piece.

When I left Montreal for St. Louis, it was time for a fresh start.

Things were starting to fall apart in Montreal. I’d just come back from the cab squad where all I did was push myself. I didn’t have any teaching or help. – Charlie Lindgren


Reading the text in full, he doesn’t necessarily seem to hold a grudge against the Habs, with whom he was proud to sign to learn from and play with Carey Price. That said, he did criticize the way he was treated.

Remember that when Marc Bergevin was replaced by Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes, Lindgren had already left Montreal. So it’s not the new administration (or the new coaching staff) that’s to blame.

When you look at the way young players and goalkeepers are treated in Montreal, it’s clear that things aren’t like they used to be.

I know that COVID-19 forced the Habs to have a goalie on its reserve squad, but the fact remains that the 2023-2024 ménage à trois was better managed than the one during the pandemic.

After all, none of the three this year lacked instruction…


Haters will say the Tigers take advantage of LTIR in the playoffs like Vegas. Jokes aside (there’s no such concept in the QMJHL), it’s good news for the Quebecer.

– Six important games ahead.

– Nick Suzuki, the best center since when? [BPM Sports]

– He’s making progress.

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