I agree that the Habs need to make a trade, but not necessarily just for a center or defenceman unless the right deal comes along.
I am getting a very similar feeling to the one I had in December of 2015 when I opined quite vociferously that the season was lost unless the Canadiens traded for a goalie. Obviously, the circumstances are different this time around as it’s not because Carey Price has a long-term injury even if he’s missing the next game with a lower-body ailment. The trouble is, though, that he may as well be out long-term, at the very least right now he is “injured” mentally.
No…the issue right now is that the Habs don’t have a goalie in the organization who can stop the puck more than 90 percent of the time, and it’s a simple fact in today’s NHL that you don’t win unless you do have such a specimen. Yes, there are issues on the blueline and up front. Alzner, Pacioretty, Plekanec and others aren’t playing well enough, and they’re supposed to be veterans on this team that lead by example.
It’s usually not too hard to spot a team suffering a crisis in confidence, however, and that’s the case in Montreal as the players see the once-reliable Price allow questionable goals that have given the opposition early leads in eight of his 11 starts. To make matters worse…he’s not shutting the door after the first goal either; last night it took him all of ten seconds to let in another one, and you could tell the team was deflated.
Al Montoya is not the answer to the goalie woes; if it’s possible he has been even worse than Price since Day 1 of training camp having even worse first periods in training camp and letting in soft goals.
I thought in training camp that Charlie Lindgren may well supplant Montoya as the team’s backup, but the club’s management, to no one’s surprise given their recent history, chose to stick with the veteran over the youngster, and right now calling up Lindgren to try to win some games seems improbable as well since Lindgren has been struggling as much as his NHL brethren.
If Bergevin fears for his job if the club misses the playoffs, his number-one priority in improving this club right now may well be to deal for a goalie. They are often more available than defencemen or centers at this time of year as teams only need two on their NHL rosters, and they’re also more likely to come in and surprise as goalies are, even on the best days, an unpredictable lot.
Look at Mike Condon. He was four games below .500 in a starting role in Price’s place in 2015-16 – he moves to Ottawa and fills in as a starter when Anderson was out last season, and kept the Senators in the playoff hunt going five games over .500 and playing better than he did in Montreal. Devan Dubnyk was waiver wire material in 2014…he goes to Minnesota and almost singlehandedly gets them back in a playoff race the following season.
An organization that has goalies struggling in the NHL, AHL and ECHL needs help in that department, so pick one up and hope he can at least save more than 90 percent of the shots he faces and give the club a chance to win. The Canadiens have 14 of 17 at home after this short road trip. Bring in a goalie, give him a few games, and see if he can string together a few wins.
It’s not like picking up a goalie is as difficult as trying to pry a defenceman from a club either – of the five deals made since the start of the season, three involved goalies…there are deals to be made that won’t cost a ton of assets, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a blue-chip goalie either…just one that may make a few stops right now. Even if a new goalie doesn’t pan out; if nothing else it hopefully wakes up the franchise goalie.
Al Montoya is not the answer to getting this club out of its funk; it also doesn’t look like Price is right now either. Perhaps someone giving Price a hard push for his starting job wouldn’t be such a terrible thing. He is quite competitive; if suddenly there is another goalie truly giving him a push for the starting role, perhaps he gets that spark back sooner than later. Competition, as they say, is healthy.
Maybe that’s all Price needs…a push. Pretty tough for him not to be a little complacent right now…he knows no matter what he’s the starter more than 80 percent of the time unlike when Halak was around; he just signed a cushy eight-year deal…beautiful wife…as Joe Walsh might say “Life’s Been Good to Me So Far”…well… maybe it’s time for life for Carey Price to be uncomfortable.
Galchenyuk is the proverbial whipping boy with this management and coaching staff…seems like he’s the guy who always gets the short end of the stick. Not Pacioretty or Price though…they are the team pets no matter how lousy they may be playing…and frankly…that has to stop. No one should be getting a free pass…even the darlings.