If you look at the Eastern Conference standings, you'll notice that the once venerable Montreal Canadiens are nowhere near playoff contention. Barring something miraculous, they will miss the playoffs for the third straight year. It will be the first time since a stretch from 1998-2001 that this has happened. As luck would have it, Montreal could help the Philadelphia Flyers out.
Right now, the team is pretty solid. They aren't the most gifted scoring team, but they are scoring enough to win games. The Flyers aren't the best defensive squad, but they are talented enough to keep them in games. However, they have one Achilles heel right now: their goaltending.
I know, I know. The goaltending has been an issue for the Orange and Black since the 90s. What else is new? Well, the circumstances. Instead of having goalies that are too old, too injured, or just awful, this Flyers team is facing uncertainty in the net.
Carter Hart is facing charges in Canada due to sexual assault allegations. Sam Ersson has been reliable in the net but hasn't faced this much pressure in his professional career yet. Can he handle the load? Felix Sandstrom has never really shown himself to be a capable NHL goalie. Cal Petersen is just marginally better than Sandstrom and expensive, too.
So what can the Flyers do? How does Montreal fit in? Montreal has a bit of a goalie controversy, and perhaps the two teams could help each other. Montreal has committed itself to Samuel Montembeault. Yet the team has two other netminders on the roster, Jake Allen and Cayden Primeau. Both Allen and Primeau seem to be on the outs in Montreal. How can Philly make this work?
Trade Scenario #1
The easiest one would be to flip the young goaltenders straight up. Flyers would send Sandstrom to Montreal for Primeau. Primeau is a 24-year goalie who has played in 32 games and won seven. His career stats include a save percentage of .882 and a GAA of 3.81. This year, Primeau is 4-5-1 with a GAA of 3.36 and a .899 save percentage.
Yikes! Why would Philly want that? Perhaps it is all about a change of scenery. The Flyers move on from Sandstrom, which would save the Canadiens about $100K. Philadelphia gets a goalie who is still young and could turn it around. Perhaps he'd be better with a better defensive unit in front of him. Primeau could give Ersson a rest in the net.
Trade Scenario #2
But what if Ersson would benefit from a veteran netminder in the net? While a goalie like Marc-Andre Fleury in Minnesota might be better to have in net, he would cost the team a lot more in assets, not to mention the higher salary cap hit. This is where Jake Allen comes in.
Allen is 33 and will be under contract for one more year at $3,850,000. His numbers are marginally better for the Habs, going 5-9-3 with a GAA of 3.43 and a save percentage of .901. He'd bring a veteran presence to the team while he was also part of the St Louis Blues squad that won the Stanley Cup in 2019.
If the Flyers demoted Petersen, they could easily afford Allen's salary. He might cost the Flyers a draft pick. That could depend on how many teams are interested in Allen. Maybe the Flyers could send Sandstrom and then throw in a prospect, like Wade Allison, into the deal.
Either way, Montreal has too many goalies, and the team is foundering. With Philly's goaltending situation up in the air, these two teams could help each other.