The Montreal Canadiens may have an expensive tandem for this season, but it will get a little cheaper down the line. The team has announced a two-year extension with new backup Jake Allen, keeping him in Montreal through the 2022-23 season. The deal will carry an average annual value of just $2.875MM, much lower than the $4.35MM cap hit he carries this year.
Still, a new deal for Allen will certainly raise some eyebrows around the league. The veteran goaltender was brought in to serve as an experienced option behind Carey Price in a condensed season, but his presence for multiple years also means that young Cayden Primeau will have to wait a little longer. Primeau is exempt from the upcoming expansion draft, but was expected to challenge for the Montreal backup role in the next few years.
He’ll have to wait and watch for now, as Price and Allen make up the most expensive tandem in the entire league. They also could make up one of the best, given Price’s all-world ability and the resurgence of Allen’s game. The 30-year-old Allen posted a .927 save percentage in 24 appearances for the St. Louis Blues in 2019-20, his best statistical season, though obviously in fewer starts.
If reducing his load produces those results, he can be a real difference-maker for the Canadiens as they turn the corner and start to try and contend for the Stanley Cup. The team has dished out huge contracts this offseason to newcomers Joel Edmundson, Josh Anderson, and Tyler Toffoli, while also locking up Jeff Petry to a long-term deal. After spending under the cap for several years, GM Marc Bergevin has decided it is time to push his chips to the middle.