The Montreal Canadiens won’t be going to arbitration with Michael McNiven after all. The minor league goaltender has settled on a one-year, two-way contract with Montreal, which will carry an NHL salary of $750K. McNiven was scheduled for an arbitration hearing on August 11, but will no longer need it.
The 24-year-old McNiven would have been an interesting arbitration case, given he still hasn’t played a single game in the NHL. In fact, he has spent more time in the ECHL the last few seasons than anywhere else, splitting 22 games between the Adirondack Thunder, Jacksonville Icemen and Norfolk Admirals in 2019-20. This season he played 13 games for the Laval Rocket and went 7-3-3, even with a save percentage of just .895.
There have been clear signs of success for the undrafted netminder, but McNiven’s career has been marked by inconsistency both in his play and his assignment. He has never remained at a single level for a full season, including this year when he was routinely called up to the taxi squad when the Canadiens were dealing with injuries. The epitome of organizational depth at this point, it seems that he’ll be used just wherever Montreal needs him at the time.
In terms of an NHL future, McNiven is obviously behind the tandem of Carey Price and Jake Allen, but has also been passed on the depth chart by 21-year-old Cayden Primeau, who has six NHL appearances over the last two seasons.