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2016-17 Montreal Canadiens Season Review: Al Montoya

The Big Cubano gave the Habs exactly what they needed

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports


GP Strength Save % Low Danger SV% Medium Danger SV% High Danger SV% Goals Saved Above Average
GP Strength Save % Low Danger SV% Medium Danger SV% High Danger SV% Goals Saved Above Average
19 5 vs 5 92.05 97.97 88.61 85.71 0.63
4 vs 5 83.1 100 94.74 60 -3.81

After a year of goaltending turmoil in 2015-16 following Carey Price’s season-ending knee injury, Marc Bergevin made it a priority to bring in an experienced backup goaltender for the 2016-17 campaign.

Enter Al Montoya.

Montoya entered his first season in Montreal having previously played for four different teams, with a winning career record of 55-40-18, and a save percentage of 90.92%. He finished the season 8-6-4, with an overall save percentage of 91.21%. In 5v5 even-strength situations this season, his save percentage was over 92%. His Goals-Saved-Against-Average (GSAA) metric of 0.63 suggests that he was slightly better than an average NHL goalie in 5v5 situations as well, though he did struggle somewhat on the penalty kill.

He collected wins against 3 of his former teams (NYI, WPG, and FLA). He earned the win in the Habs season opener in Buffalo, as well as the season opener at the Centre Bell. The 4-0 shutout victory against the defending Cup champion Penguins in the home opener was likely the high point of the year for the Habs’ new backup. His low point, without a doubt, was the 10-0 drubbing that the Habs sustained in Columbus on November 4.

Montoya drew unexpected duty immediately, as Carey Price recovered from a severe bout of the flu that kept him out of the lineup following the World Cup. He subsequently functioned as a true backup, spelling Price when necessary, and giving the Canadiens a chance to win in nearly every outing. He approached his role with full professionalism, suffering through the Blue Jackets 10-goal November outburst without so much as a sarcastic glance. Throughout the season, he displayed solid technique and a high compete level.

Originally competing on a 1-year, $950,000 contract, the Canadiens gave him a 2-year extension worth $2,125,000 in January. Montoya will certainly be exposed to the Vegas Golden Knights in the upcoming expansion draft, but with a host of bigger names expected to be exposed or available on the free-agent market, it’s likely that Montoya will be back in Montreal for the remainder of his contract.

Overall, it’s hard to find fault with Montoya’s performance this season. He fulfilled his role as backup to an elite NHL goaltender, and represented the Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge with skill, effort, and pride.

Al Montoya gave the Canadiens exactly what they expected of him during the 2016-17 season, and exactly what they needed.

(all statistics via


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