Montreal Canadiens: Jakub Dobes Proving To Be USHL’s Best Goaltender

SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 06:Marc Bergevin Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
SECAUCUS, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 06:Marc Bergevin Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Montreal Canadiens goaltending appears to be in good hands for a very long time.

Carey Price is going nowhere anytime soon as he has six years left on his contract, including this season. Jake Allen is under contract for the next three years to be his backup and he is a proven stable veteran himself.

Cayden Primeau looks like an excellent prospect after dominating college hockey for two seasons and being named the best goalie in the country in 2019. He was solid in his first AHL season in 2019-20 and looks poised to carry a heavy workload for the Laval Rocket this season, and will probably make Allen expendable before his contract expires.

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They also have an intriguing Russian goaltender in Vasili Demchenko who is 26 years old, but looked great in his KHL career before finally crossing to North America for the upcoming season. Michael McNiven has looked good when given an opportunity at the AHL level, but he has battled with Primeau and Charlie Lindgren for starts and has been pushed down their depth chart.

In a way, they already have too many goaltenders as they have to choose between Primeau, McNiven and Demchenko to start every night for the Laval Rocket in what will probably be a short season for the Habs top affiliate.

Don’t look now, but there is yet another promising young goaltender in the pipeline.

The Canadiens selected Jakub Dobes in the 5th round of the 2020 NHL Draft. He was not a heralded prospect heading into the NHL Draft, as he was ranked 20th among North American goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting.

With the 136th overall selection, Marc Bergevin would make Dobes the 13th goaltender taken in the draft. So, he went a little bit above where he was predicted and that decision is looking like a wise one right now.

Dobes is a 6’5″ and 201 pound netminder from Czech Republic. He turned 19 in May of 2020 so he was eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft, but was not selected. He played the 2019-20 season in the United States, splitting it between the NAHL and much more competitive USHL. He looked incredible at the NAHL level, but had a GAA over 3.00 and a SV% under .900 in the USHL, which is the top Junior league in the country.

This season, Dobes is proving to be the top goaltender in that league.

After 17 games, Dobes is leading the league in goals-against average with a 1.85 and is leading the way in save percentage at .927 as well. This isn’t just a small sample size either as he is leading the league in games played.

Dobes has been really good the whole season, but has reached another level after the Christmas break. In six games, he has allowed just nine goals on 156 shots. That is a save percentage of .942 in that stretch to go with his 1.50 goals against average.

Dobes is committed to Ohio State University for next season and should comfortably step into their lineup after a dominant season in the USHL. The Buckeyes top two goaltenders are Seniors who will be gone next season, so the door is wide open for Dobes to play a lot of minutes in a tough Big Ten Conference next season.

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If his play at the Junior level is any indication, he will be ready for the task.