The Montreal Canadiens are taking no chances in goal next season.
The Canadiens cut through the malaise of the mid-July free agent market on Monday by re-signing a player of their own, agreeing to terms with netminder Samuel Montembeault on a two-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $1 million.
Montembeault has had a rocky start since arriving in Montreal, to say the least.
In 38 appearances last season, the 25-year-old was thrown to the wolves behind a league-worst Canadiens team, finishing with an 8-18-6 record along with one shutout and a dreadful .891 save percentage.
The hope, though, is that Montembeault's struggles were largely the product of the dysfunction around him.
The Canadiens had a disastrous 2021-22 across the board, finishing dead last in the NHL standings and gutting their entire organization both behind the bench and in the front office midway through the year. That kind of upheaval would be difficult for anyone to thrive within, let alone a young and developing goaltender playing his first full season at the NHL level.
Montembeault has a few tools that make him an intriguing option for the Habs crease next year. With Carey Price's health and future still very much up in the air, Montembeault may be thrust into action on a consistent basis once again in 2022-23, hopefully benefiting from the improved team that the Canadiens have built around him.
At a price of just $1 million, though, Montembeault's entire salary is capable of being buried in the AHL in the event that the Canadiens deem it necessary, effectively negating any risk associated with this deal.