Grading Samuel Montembeault's season

Samuel Montembeault has been the backbone for the Canadiens; helping them navigate through the treacherous rebuild waters.
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

We're in the thick of the Montreal Canadiens offseason and with it, many players are off on beaches sipping on cervezas.

Aside from the NHL Draft which isn't until the end of the month, there isn't much going on during June. So, I decided that a letter grade for each of the Canadiens players reflecting their 2023-24 season would keep things fresh and interesting. Whether you agree or disagree, this will be a good way to get everybody engaged in conversation, which is difficult when the Canadiens finish their season in April.

The icebreaker for this exercise is the Habs' number one goaltender Samuel Montembeault, who did a considerably good job guarding the crease. The 2023-24 season was more of the same as the previous season, and while the blue line had Mike Matheson in the fold, it was still not where management would like it to be. But don't Monty that; as he still did his absolute best to keep the rubber from touching twine.

Number 35 played 41 games in 2023-24 constituting half of the Habs schedule, which was one game more than he played in 2022-23. Montembeault improved his goals-against average by .28 from 3.42 to 3.14. He also improved his save percentage from a .903 to a .901. 16 wins was tied with his previous season totals, but there were many games that Canadiens started slow and he stood tall giving the team a chance.

There was also the issue of the three-goalie carousel behind Montembeault, and yes, before you say it, he was the starter no matter what. But the scarce starts between Jake Allen and Cayden Primeau meant that Montembeault's nights off sometimes ended up with him going in as a reliever. The 27-year-old was relied upon heavily and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Given that the Canadiens did take a step forward, raising expectations for next year and the fact that Montembeault continued to be a shining light for the team; I would grade his season as C+. It isn''t where he would like it to be or where anybody else would. But the fact of the matter is that this team is growing and aches and pains are a part of the process.