3 Canadiens players who were the biggest surprises in 2023-24

The Montreal Canadiens weren’t surprising anyone this season, but their fans got to see a few players who enjoyed some surprising 2023-24 campaigns.
Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers
Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
3 of 4

Sam Montembeault finally showed he could be a 1A

Sam Montembeault doesn’t deserve to shoulder most of the blame for his relatively poor numbers over his first two seasons with the Canadiens following a pedestrian 25 games with the Florida Panthers. His first season in Quebec was a disaster, with eight wins in 30 starts and 38 appearances, but at 26, he wasn’t looking like a 1A goaltender. 

That changed this season when, despite the Canadiens struggling through another year of building, Montembeault posted a solid 0.904 save percentage, a 3.10 GAA, and a whopping 0.718 quality starts percentage. Montembeault also allowed just three goals above expected at even strength, providing even more evidence that he can sidle into the 2024-25 season as the 1A. 

Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes also opted to move Jake Allen to New Jersey, which left Montembeault as the clear-cut 1A for the rest of the year. 

Sure, there is always a chance Cayden Primeau could ultimately overtake Montembeault, considering his numbers this season. But given the number of games Montembeault appeared in and his number of starts, plus his remarkable numbers and consistent performances this season, fans should be fine with the 27-year-old in the crease for at least 45-50 games in 2024-25.