Montreal Canadiens Rumour: Habs Interested In Michael DiPietro?

Jan 23, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Michael Dipietro. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 23, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Michael Dipietro. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports /

The Montreal Canadiens promise to be very busy this offseason as they shape their team for the future. They struggled in 2021-22 and will now go about rebuilding the team so they are ready to compete for the Stanley Cup again in a few years.

They have a new management team in place, led by general manager Kent Hughes and executive vice president of hockey operations Jeff Gorton. They aren’t responsible for building the cap-strapped and talent-lacking roster, but they are in charge of fixing things.

They will get a little help by having the first overall pick and they are in possession of 14 draft picks for the 2022 NHL Draft right now. That will eventually help in the long term, but what will the roster look like next season?

Most of the rumours surrounding the team involve players that are likely to leave town this offseason. Shea Weber was already traded. Jeff Petry appears to be as good as gone. Josh Anderson’s name is popping up in trade talks.

Not a lot of players are rumoured to be heading to Montreal, and that makes sense since the team is rebuilding. However, one name was thrown out there that the Canadians may be interested in and it was a bit of an outside the box name.

According to Rick Dhaliwal, who has a radio show in British Columbia and also writes for The Athletic, the Canadiens may have interest in goaltender Mike DiPietro.

The 23 year old DiPietro has apparently been passed over in the Vancouver Canucks organization and they may be looking to move him. He was a third round pick in 2017 and had a great Junior career in the OHL with his hometown Windsor Spitfires and the Ottawa 67’s.

He was also terrific at the 2019 World Juniors, posting a 1.23 goals against average and a .952 save percentage in four games for Canada. He won a Memorial Cup in 2017 with Windsor and looked like a great prospect at that time.

His transition to the pro level hasn’t gone perfectly. His first pro season was in 2019-20 and he posted a 2.79 GAA and a .908 SV% in 36 games at the AHL level with the Utica Comets. He was hurt most of the following season and just had a 2.95 GAA and a .901 SV% for Utica this season in 34 games played.

Those aren’t awful numbers, but they aren’t phenomenal either so the acquisition cost would be minimal. Maybe a 5th or 6th round pick. But the question is, where does he fit with the Canadiens?

It makes no sense to acquire DiPietro if Carey Price, Jake Allen, Sam Montembeault and Cayden Primeau are all back with the organization. Of course, there are real questions about Price’s availability next season, so maybe DiPietro would be an insurance policy with some upside since he is only 23.

It would also make sense to have a little depth so the Primeau is not being yo-yo’d up and down between the Laval Rocket and Canadiens. The best thing for Primeau’s development next season is to play a ton of games at the AHL level and be left there all season to do so.

If Price isn’t healthy and the Canadiens head into next season with Allen and Montembeault at the NHL level and then Primeau and DiPietro at the AHL level it would give them plenty of depth at the position. If Allen or Montembeault get hurt, DiPietro could be called up to serve as the NHL backup while Primeau continues to play lots of minutes and develop properly with the Laval Rocket.

It would make for a crowded crease if Price does end up being healthy, but Jake Allen is entering the final year of his contract and is likely to be traded before the trade deadline anyway. It would make more sense for a rebuilding team to have a 23 year old goalie in the organization instead of a 31 year old so Allen could be dealt early in the season if Price is playing.

You won’t see the Canadiens acquire a lot of new players this offseason, and that’s what makes this DiPietro rumour a bit odd at first. But, if Price can’t play or they have a decent offer for Allen already, they should pull the trigger and add a 23 year old former top prospect who could develop into an NHL goaltender yet.

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