Al Montoya given two year extension in Montreal
With the expansion draft looming, NHL clubs are doing everything they can to get ready.
For some, like the Montreal Canadiens, that seems to mean giving backups multi-year extensions.
It was confirmed on Monday morning that Al Montoya, who is in his first season with the Canadiens following a stint with the Florida Panthers, has been given a two year contract extension. This puts his final contract year at the 2018-19 season, when Montoya will be 34 years old.
By signing Montoya, it appears that the Canadiens have solved their expansion draft problems. Prior to the extension, the team had just one goaltender with qualifying NHL experience to be exposed in the draft under contract for the 2017-28 season.
That goaltender was Carey Price.
Now, Montreal can expose Montoya. It’s unlikely, given the binds that many other teams are in (which include tandems of Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury, Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy, and James Reimer and Roberto Luongo), that Las Vegas will want to pick up Montoya.
As a result, they’ve managed to lock up a backup best-case scenario and provide an option for Las Vegas to take in a worst-case scenario. Not a bad look at all.
Of course, the team wouldn’t have given Montoya a multi-year extension if they didn’t think he deserved it – and so far, he’s proven that he does. With the exception of a horrendous 10-0 loss earlier this year (when head coach Michel Therrien left Montoya in net to fend for himself for all 10 goals), Montoya has had a fairly solid season. With his 10-0 loss, the netminder boasts a .909 save percentage in all situations; when you take that game out, he sits on a .932.
Montreal still has problems to fix, given their center depth and their somewhat murky prospect pool behind Price and Montoya. For now, though, this was a good move on their part – particularly if they believe the backup is capable of his good numbers for the next two years.