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The Habs Need a Better Backup


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One of the things that have bothered me during the past few seasons is the way our goaltending is handled. When Therrien was here, Price could

never get pulled without reacting with rage. In my opinion, it gave him a little too much power. Pulling a goaltender when the team is down 3-0 can be a momentum changer and a kick in the butt to the rest of the team. When Montoya was in against Columbus last season, he had to take each and everyone of those 10 goals in part because Price is Price and it was one of his rare scheduled days off and quite frankly it didn't even look like he would have been prepared to play even if Montoya got injured.

 

I'm currently watching Miller's first game with Anaheim after being injured and in the little I've seen of the game, he's been great. The score is 3-3  and going into a shootout but he has made save after save in order to keep his team in it. I realize a goalie like Miller has had his troubles recently but as a backup? I think he's leagues ahead of Montoya. 

 

Having a solid backup a la Miller would also force Price to play to his potential on a more regular basis. There have been on and off comments about how Price hasn't played well. What's been the overwhelming solution? "He'll snap out of it". What if he doesn't for awhile? What repercussions does he have to face? Miller just shut out the Canes in the shootout. 

 

Price has no pressure to perform and we need a better backup. We also need a plan B in case the going gets tough with him or he gets injured. Although I've respected Montoya's career, it's one of the things which have been completely overlooked by everyone and it's been for the past few years. 

 

 

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Yes, I'm in a long term committed relationship with Carey Price, but that doesn't mean I can't think about other goalies

Think Montoya put the pin in this topic with his play and result last night. He has proved more than capable, take away the blowout outlier last year against Columbus and his numbers are very respecta

Corey Schnieder got the 9th overall pick.  Robin Lehner + David Legwand (a cap dump) got 21st overall Cam Talbot got three picks (57, 79 and 184 overall) Martin Jones got a 1st round pick and

In his single start, Montoya was sharp, I thought he was solid. Franchise goalies don’t need internal competition to motivate them. During his Vezina year, I don’t think Budaj or Tokarski, whoever it was, pushed him too hard. The five skaters in front of him at any given time need to step it up. 

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Julien has handled the situation differently than Therrien in a better way (I liked Therrien) but Montoya wasn't sharp. I was at the game in LA and having Montoya in net was literally my only concern. If you're a realist, it's a huge task to expect Montoya to outplay Quick. He did hold the Habs in it and he did make some great saves but it's not a surprise that the eventual outcome was 5-1. Price has been playing no better but that's the point.

 

I don't like Anaheim but they know they have two goalies who could lead them to the cup. It shouldn't be an issue considering we have Price but I think backup goalies are becoming more important in this league. Montoya couldn't win a series and Tokarski wouldn't have been able

to either.

 

One of my favorite cup runs in recent memory had (arguably) our backup goalie in Jaroslav Halak lead the way. The playoffs are a long grind and having an elite backup goalie can do wonders for your chances. Down 2-0 in a series? Change goalies. Your opponent is now facing a completely different team and one with full belief. We're a team who relies on goaltending and there are other backups out there who can help teams win games on their own. 

 

This is not a slight at Montoya and Lindgren and McNiven, it seems hard for me to believe they could go all the way at such early stages in their career. I haven't seen or heard such amazing things about them. 

 

The Penguins are the recent cup winner and they used both Murray and Fleury. I consider Fleury (or Murray) the same type of elite backup. This year they tried the same thing with Niemi despite his terrible numbers last season and have already let him go. There aren't many teams who have it.  Vancouver had it few years ago, and I think they were a good team then as well.

 

Price will have rough patches and he's going to be here for a long time. It's going to really help us out when we have our next solid backup. 

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And here I am thinking the Habs should get a worse backup...

 

Montoya for Kari Lehtonen and the best prospect Dallas will give us for taking that cap anchor off their hands. 

 

But admittedly I am already looking ahead to next season. Gonna need a helluva winstreak to get me back on the playoff push bandwagon. 

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37 minutes ago, Trizzak said:

And here I am thinking the Habs should get a worse backup...

 

Montoya for Kari Lehtonen and the best prospect Dallas will give us for taking that cap anchor off their hands. 

 

But admittedly I am already looking ahead to next season. Gonna need a helluva winstreak to get me back on the playoff push bandwagon. 

 

The team will get hot - possibly soon. Whether we'll be able to grind ourselves beyond 'bubble team' status is far from obvious, however.

 

I don't think Montoya is the problem. The answer to Price's struggles is entirely in Price himself. I can't recall the last time he went through such a long bad patch. Maybe he is having trouble adjusting to the new and 'improved' D in front of him. I recall one analyst who argued that NHLers have finally rediscovered the wrist shot - maybe that, or some other adjustment from opponents, is throwing him? In any case, this is definitely aberrant and surely won't last.

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Let me put it this way, there are backup goalies in this league who could be starters on other teams. 

 

It does seem like a stretch, however, as most teams don't really have that luxury. It's a specific example as I was watching a specific game but I think a veteran backup goalie who has been a starter before in the league (Miller) would be a nice backup to have. I have all the faith in the world in Price and this isn't a slight at Montoya but I think teams should really consider attempting to have two capable starting goaltenders. 

 

Even Budaj wasn't bad for the Kings last year. I don't believe Montoya could run our team like that. 

 

The other issue is that while internal competition can actually be a detrimental distraction, I don't think it's true that it would be a bad thing to have someone who could take over for Price on a temporary basis (2-3 games). The team's identity is Price and it's like a line change. This is my opinion based on Price also being a unique goaltender compared to anything I've ever seen. He can be all wordly, but he's simply expected to be 100% of the time, which never happens. He's then given a longer leash no matter what. I guess Lundqvist would be a similar example, and I think highly of Lundqvist as well. 

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This may be only tangentially related, but I don't think I've ever seen a team as psychologically dependent on its goaltender as this one is. (Or rather, the only parallel that comes to my mind would be the Habs themselves in 1994-5, between the last Cup and the Roy trade, when Roy completely dominated the room). If Price lets in a softie, it's as if the team has absolutely zero chance to win.

 

I don't think a better back-up would fix this. Any goalie playing behind him is going to get only a handful of games - not enough to diminish Price's Svengali-like hold on the Habs' collective psyche. And benching Price for a few games is a recipe for disaster on all sorts of levels (is any coach really going to risk his ire, insulting him by running with the backup over multiple nights?).

 

This organization, and this core group of players IMHO, are absolutely all in on Carey Price. There is no safety net, no tweak we can make, no alternative to that fundamental structural fact. And I don't have a problem with it - when you have a great player, you keep him and build around him. The problem is that the team in front of him just isn't good enough, and has never been, except perhaps around 2015, before MB starting fiddling with the core he'd inherited.

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12 hours ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

 

 I recall one analyst who argued that NHLers have finally rediscovered the wrist shot - maybe that, or some other adjustment from opponents, is throwing him?

Weird.

 

I seem to recall that Pacioretty, Kessel and Tarasenko were all playing in the last 4-5 years...  Maybe NHLers don't Watch any highlights reel ???

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1 hour ago, The Chicoutimi Cucumber said:

This may be only tangentially related, but I don't think I've ever seen a team as psychologically dependent on its goaltender as this one is. (Or rather, the only parallel that comes to my mind would be the Habs themselves in 1994-5, between the last Cup and the Roy trade, when Roy completely dominated the room). If Price lets in a softie, it's as if the team has absolutely zero chance to win.

 

I don't think a better back-up would fix this. Any goalie playing behind him is going to get only a handful of games - not enough to diminish Price's Svengali-like hold on the Habs' collective psyche. And benching Price for a few games is a recipe for disaster on all sorts of levels (is any coach really going to risk his ire, insulting him by running with the backup over multiple nights?).

 

This organization, and this core group of players IMHO, are absolutely all in on Carey Price. There is no safety net, no tweak we can make, no alternative to that fundamental structural fact. And I don't have a problem with it - when you have a great player, you keep him and build around him. The problem is that the team in front of him just isn't good enough, and has never been, except perhaps around 2015, before MB starting fiddling with the core he'd inherited.

The thing is, if everything were ideal in the world, Price would play 65 games a season for the next 10 years and our backup would play only a handful of games. 

 

This ideal world is not likely to happen though. Price will go through rough patches and other things will happen as well. I don't fully comprehend why being arguably the best in the world has to be combined with not accepting one is human. Marc Andre Fleury is worse than Price but I sincerely believe he didn't once frown when Murray replaced him, as long as it was for the betterment of the team. Fleury played his very big role in their cup run as well. 

 

Price is a competitor and the Habs organization is rightfully so (in my opinion) all in on Price. With that being said, as we saw last year, Price is a competitor and obviously he'll always want to be in the net in order to have a chance to redeem/prove himself when things are going tough. He is the player though, and not the coach.

 

If Price being benched for a few games due to not only poor play, but the fact that we have a solid backup who has been a starter in this league before (all theoretical) would be a huge issue for him, then he is simply not your definition of a team player. I do admit I have a calm head in thinking about this and it is true that unfortunately the media and fans would make a huge deal of it as had happened with Halak and Price.

 

I do think having a solid backup would do more than one thing for this club though. As things stand, as we've both stated, this team is quite reliant on the mental confidence its goalie instills in them. I believe our team is unique in that sense. If a goalie like Ryan Miller, or Jaroslav Halak, or Brian Elliott, or Jake Allen (I know I listed a bunch of actual starters, but they've been backups as well) were our backup, I think our team could have confidence no matter which goalie was in net and in turn start to believe in themselves to a much greater extent.

 

 

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I think the fact that the backup would be a veteran in my scenario would help out as well because no one would actually be worried that they would be fighting for Price's starting job. It's a team sport and they would be an attempt to right the ship when the going gets tough. Someone like Miller probably wouldn't be able to save the Habs by playing an entire season but could he get hit for a few games and turn a season or playoff series around? Certainly. 

 

Lindgren is an interesting option. His stats and play certainly show that he has potential. But if he plays great? Now we have another controversy and may have to end up trading one of them.

 

Injuries are a whole other ball game but this has also bit the team in the behind in the past. We recently traded for Ben Scrivens when Price got injured and Tokarski wasn't enough. We have lost seasons already...

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Dude. How much money are you willing to spend on Goalies in your scenario ???
Or you expect that somehow you could pay Montoya's kind of money for Fleury's quality ?!?!

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Think Montoya put the pin in this topic with his play and result last night. He has proved more than capable, take away the blowout outlier last year against Columbus and his numbers are very respectable since part of mtl. 

he is fine, relatively cheap, happy to be the backup. It was never a problem for price previously to have little internal competition so to bring that up now is a moot point. 

Really trying to drag this thread along though.

Backup goalies (goalies in general given the prospects) are far from the problem in Mtl. 

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8 hours ago, JoeLassister said:

Dude. How much money are you willing to spend on Goalies in your scenario ???
Or you expect that somehow you could pay Montoya's kind of money for Fleury's quality ?!?!

Honestly, when the playoffs started, Fleury was the starter and Murray was the backup. Fleury makes about 5.5 million and Murray makes less than 600k.  I'm not sure that type of thing could be replicated but the point remains that they did not overly devote money to their goaltending situation. What's very true is that starting next year, we have about 10+ million devoted to Price and so we shouldn't be trying to spend too much money on our backup. With that being said, Ryan Miller makes 2 million and a goalie lie Peter Budaj doesn't make much more than Montoya. 

 

When I look at those two goalies, I admit that many people may argue that Budaj and Montoya are similar caliber. The one thing I will note in difference, however, is that Montoya has been a career backup goalie, whereas Budaj has been a starter before. When Quick went down last year, he was able to sustain a pretty high level for an extended period of time. Once again, while this thread has been misinterpreted as a slight against Montoya, it's not. But I am still not convinced that he would be able to take over the reigns of this team should it be deemed necessary for any reason.

 

4 hours ago, hockeyrealist said:

Think Montoya put the pin in this topic with his play and result last night. He has proved more than capable, take away the blowout outlier last year against Columbus and his numbers are very respectable since part of mtl. 

he is fine, relatively cheap, happy to be the backup. It was never a problem for price previously to have little internal competition so to bring that up now is a moot point. 

Really trying to drag this thread along though.

Backup goalies (goalies in general given the prospects) are far from the problem in Mtl. 

 

In my honest opinion, I would not say that last night's performance put the topic to rest. It's too easy to state that we won a game and that things are great. I would also have not came here and ranted had Montoya lost the game. With that being said, Montoya let a goal in about 30 seconds into the game. Although the Habs played well (read further), that's not the type of goaltending that will instill confidence in the team. 

 

The positives I saw were that:

 

1) He made a decent stop on a breakaway when the Habs were leading 5-3. That is exactly the type of thing I was referring to as Miller made about 3-4 of those types of saves in his Overtime game to help lead the Ducks to a victory over the Canes.

 

2) The team played well in front of him. This reality was the purpose of this thread in the first place.

 

Perhaps the title of my thread is wrong as I should have named it "The Habs Need A Backup Goalie Who Can Instil Confidence in the Team

 

The Montreal Canadiens have a unique situation. It was stated yesterday that Price had the day off because Waite wanted to have 3 consecutive "work days" to tweak some minor issues that he noticed Price was having. I'm not sure of any other goalie in the league who goes through that type of thing. I can ensure you that had we been the team who let in 8 goals, we would have seen Montoya in the net for all 8 of them, unlike Anderson who got replaced by Condon. I do not think Condon is a better goaltender than Montoya, but I do believe Price is a unique goaltender and having a backup like Montoya allows for some strange decision making when it comes to our team's goaltending.

 

Again, I wouldn't imagine it's necessarily an easy thing to find a goaltender with all the prerequisites I've asked for. This also has nothing to do with how "Montoya is a capable backup goaltender". I'm sure he is. I personally do think that Anaheim did find a gem this off season though and with some shrewd scouting and management, anything is possible and a team who relies so much on goaltending should pay attention to it. 

 

As for internal competition, the point is that while Price is likely motivated, he doesn't have anything to worry about. That's not meant in the literal sense, but having a goalie who could step in when the going gets rough, would be good for the team, not only Price. 

 

No one ever stated in this thread that this is a number one important thing for the habs. In my oponion, the most important need still revolves around the center position. I do believe that this small, overlooked thing is of secondary importance, along with some help on the back end though, and I think the situation is somewhat unique to the Montreal Canadiens. 

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I'm not the type to beat a dead horse, especially when it seems to be unanimously accepted that my opinion is in the minority. I'm also not sure about the extent of Price's "injury". With that being said, this is the exact type of situation where we can see whether or not our backup goaltending is an issue for our squad. I get the feeling, and am hoping (?) that Price's injury won't keep him out for long, but if Montoya plays the next 3 games, then we'll get an idea if he's capable to keep the team afloat. I find it hard to believe that he will play all these games in a row, considering the Habs play tomorrow as well but we'll see how this plays out. 

 

I've heard very little about Price's injury other than it's relatively minor, but what I will say is that it seems to be a common theme that every time he's off his game, there seems to be something "injury" related. Either he has some lingering issues which I find hard to believe because of the contract the organization gave him, something is wrong mentally and he needs the injury excuse to take pressure off, or he's extremely unlucky and keeps getting hurt whenever he's trying to work his way out of a rut. 

 

Whatever the case, with Price struggling and a team much reliant on their goalie, we'll see how Montoya fairs. The team doesn't have much more margin for error when it comes to simply throwing games away.  I stated earlier that we'll see if Montoya can keep the team afloat but in my opinion, he needs to do more than that at this stage of the game. There are backup goalies in this league who could step into this role and make the team feel as though they don't even need Price back. That was the point of this thread. We've become spoiled with our starting goaltending being so great but eventually, amidst all the Habs fans who want to even consider trading Price, that's only going to become a realistic option once we have either a plan in action to acquire a staring goalie in return, or a capable backup in the organization who out of the blue made Price somewhat expendable as long as we get an elite player in return. 

 

Whether we trade Price or not in the long run, we will eventually have the capable backup I'm referring to and it while may be 4 years before Price goes through something like this again, hopefully the team is prepared when it does. 

 

I wish Montoya the best of luck here. I won't be eyeing him so much as I will be focusing on how the team plays in front of him. 

 

 

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If Price is gone long term,  the chances that Montoya will notch the starter job are slim to none. 

 

Starter's job is Lindgren's, IMO.  They should ride Lindgren 3 games out of 4, just like they do with Price.

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42 minutes ago, JoeLassister said:

If Price is gone long term,  the chances that Montoya will notch the starter job are slim to none. 

 

Starter's job is Lindgren's, IMO.  They should ride Lindgren 3 games out of 4, just like they do with Price.

Based on one game? Condon looked good for a week or two, but.

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Charlie Lindgren in the NHL:

 

4-0

1.24 G.A.A

.960 SV

 

Small sample size yes, but we are almost getting to the point where we can be excited about what he can do at this level. 

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20 minutes ago, DON said:

Based on one game? Condon looked good for a week or two, but.

Based on where the organization is going.

 

They want to developp Lindgren into a starting goalie to  play him or trade him.

NHL starter is his ceiling, his potential.


Not Montoya's.

This  +  his record so far as illWill points out.

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I don't mind seeing Lindgren get more games, but I don't want to see him get overworked the same way Condon did in his rookie season.  Ease him into it.

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11 minutes ago, John B said:

I don't mind seeing Lindgren get more games, but I don't want to see him get overworked the same way Condon did in his rookie season.  Ease him into it.

 

Yes. It's crazy to anoint him starter on the basis of a couple of games. What's the rush? Let him and old pro Montoya each get their share of starts until the Jedi Master returns.

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The way Lindgren played last night did indeed throw me for a little loop. On one hand, that's exactly what I was asking for. A backup who the team can be excited about and who gives a new or renewed energy to the team. On the other hand, he is young and relatively unproven and so it is tough to give him the reigns at this point in time. If this were someone like Miller, I'd say he should be starting until Price is fully healthy or when (if) he comes back to earth. 

 

I do somewhat agree that Lindgren should be given some more starts but I also agree that it should not mean starting every single game for the next 20 games. Hopefully Price isn't injured too long but if he's out for a few weeks, I'd give both Montoya and Lindgren some starts and hopefully we find out that we do have something here in Lindgren.

 

Joe's point is well taken and it's along the lines of where I was going. While he's young, Lindgren has the potential to be a starter in this league while Montoya does not. What a wonderful problem to have that would be. 

 

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