With Chris Driedger now in Seattle, there is an open spot as the third-string goaltender for the Florida Panthers. The team signed Christopher Gibson earlier this week, but now have their internal candidate locked up as well. The Panthers have agreed to terms with Sam Montembeault on a one-year, two-way contract. CapFriendly reports that the deal is worth $750K in the NHL, $250K in the AHL, and has a $300K guarantee.
Montembeault, 24, played 25 games for the Panthers in the two seasons before 2020-21, posting a 9-8-3 record and an .892 save percentage. With the emergence of Driedger and the addition of Spencer Knight, his spot as an injury fill-in for the NHL squad was lost. This year he went 8-4-1 for the Syracuse Crunch, posting an .898 save percentage as the Panthers shared an affiliate with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Next season, he’ll likely head to the Charlotte Checkers for plenty of playing time, though waivers will now be required to get him to the minor leagues. The 77th overall pick in 2015, Montembeault still has plenty of time to polish his game enough to challenge for an NHL spot somewhere around the league. He seemed on that track in 2019-20 when he had a strong .918 for the AHL club, something he’ll try to get back to this time around.
With Montembeault signing, it brings some attention to a goaltending depth chart that is relatively thin. He and Gibson have 41 NHL games combined, meaning if Sergei Bobrovsky or Knight get injured, there will be an inexperienced option coming in to replace them. Beyond those four the organization doesn’t even have another goaltender signed to an NHL contract, something that will likely change in the coming weeks.