Canadiens News & Rumors: Ads, Allen, Edmundson & More

In this edition of the Montreal Canadiens News & Rumors rundown, the Canadiens make an unpopular choice for profit. Meanwhile, the roster is still not completed, and while some players may be traded, others are being considered for new contracts. With rookie camp already underway and the main training camp starting soon, there will be more than enough storylines to keep the fan base entertained as they await the first preseason games.

Canadiens & Allen Talking Extension

Without Carey Price, the Canadiens’ goaltending situation has become very uncertain. While Cayden Primeau and Samuel Montembeault are under contract for three and two years respectively, neither are seen as potential starting goaltenders at this time. Jake Allen however is one who could shoulder that burden for a rebuilding team, as he is valued for his years of experience, pedigree (winning a Stanley Cup as a backup with the St. Louis Blues) and ability to compete in every start.

Jake Allen Montreal Canadiens
Jake Allen, Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

The issue with Allen now is his contract. He enters the final year of a deal that pays him $2.875 million and will need a new one if he is to remain in a Habs jersey past the trade deadline. John Lu of TSN confirmed with Allen that there have been extension talks, but that was the only information he would give. By all accounts, he is comfortable in Montreal and is content with his role as a starting goaltender on a rebuilding team, despite the fact he was brought in to be a backup in a tandem that included Price. However, the negotiations aren’t going to be effortless as each side has needs and desires they want to be fulfilled.

“…if the Canadiens are comfortable extending Allen for two more seasons after this one, anything longer than that becomes a bit more delicate. And our understanding of the situation is that it is the term on the contract that is currently being negotiated more so than the price tag. But there’s no rush and both parties can allow the situation to follow its course.”

– From “Basu and Godin: Nick Suzuki’s first hint of the captaincy, the Jake Allen talks and jersey ads”, The Athletic, 09/12/2022

Allen may want more term, but he will have some hurdles to jump over, namely the current goalie market. Even Marc-Andre Fleury signed a short-term two-year deal with the Minnesota Wild for a team-friendly $3.5 million. Yet for the next two or three seasons, Allen and the Canadiens are a good fit based on where the team is in its rebuild and while they wait to see if Primeau can develop into a starting goaltender, and Allen for where he is in his career arc.

Canadiens Shopping a Forward

The approach general manager (GM) Kent Hughes has taken with the media is one that the market in Montreal hasn’t seen before, he tells the truth. While it is obvious to anyone that has been thinking of line combinations and saw the number of forwards at the coaching staff’s disposal, the admission that he is shopping a forward reinforces his reputation as a GM that will tell you part of the story to protect his options, but at the same time will never lie.

Related: 3 Montreal Canadiens Poised for a Breakout

Before the start of training camp, the Canadiens have an issue that will need to be addressed, they have too many forwards under NHL contract. They have 16 forwards under contract, but three, Jonathan Drouin, Paul Byron and Sean Monahan are on the injured reserve – for now.

If any prospect or young forward arrives at training camp and earns a position, that could make Hughes a very busy GM before the season starts. One of those expected to have an NHL job is the 2022 first overall pick, Juraj Slafkovsky. In fact, at the annual charity golf tournament the Canadiens hold, Hughes addressed the media and confirmed that he is hoping to trade at least one forward to alleviate the log jam.

Canadiens Unveil Jersey Advertisements

At the charity golf event where Nick Suzuki was announced as the 31st captain of the storied franchise, another announcement was made, that the Canadiens will have a paid advertisement on their jersey for the first time in their 113-year history.

While it was inevitable for owners to want to grow and build as many revenue streams as possible to increase profits, to hockey fans, the uniforms are more than just a way to distinguish which team is which. Management may not have believed that an ad would be a distraction, as there are already many of them plastered everywhere in the Bell Center, even one on the helmets of the players. But now they will be sporting a blue, yellow, and white ad on the front of a classic sweater. Any changes to one that is known to Canadiens fans as “la Sainte-Flanelle” (translation: the holy sweater), were always going to be met with some resistance. To say the new advertisement was unpopular would be a fair assessment. As such, it will take time for fans to adjust to the new reality that the league has essentially allowed their jerseys to be billboards.

Edmundson on the Move?

On the French language channel, TVA Sports, Renaud Lavoie reported that defenseman and Canadiens assistant captain, Joel Edmundson is getting some serious interest in the trade market before the start of training camp. He stated that there were plenty of teams inquiring about his status and said, “I know there’s a lot of interest across the league for a defenceman like Edmundson.”

Joel Edmundson
Joel Edmundson, Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Vincent Ethier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Lavoie also stated that he doesn’t believe that Edmundson will be traded now, but there have been some significant trade offers made for his services. The Canadiens’ cap hit is currently over $92 million, a full $10 million over the ceiling, but thanks to Price being on long-term injury reserve (LTIR), they can spend up to $10.5 million over the cap. That being said, that is a lot of money to be paid in salary for a rebuilding team.

If the Canadiens could somehow remove Edmundson’s $3.5 million off the books for the next two seasons, they would likely do so. However, they are probably going to want him to help mentor the youth on the blue line and play most of the season at a high level before moving him out at the trade deadline when the trade offers would likely improve from those on the table now.

As training camps approach, there will be more news to keep up with so keep an eye on THW’s coverage of the Montreal Canadiens for all your hockey needs. This includes THW’s affiliated podcast Habs Unfiltered for the latest Canadiens news, notes, and rumors.