Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Around the Atlantic: Lucic entering NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance program, Canadiens goalies of interest
By Shane Seney3 months ago
Lots going on Around the Atlantic this week as several teams make their way back from Stockholm, Sweden where the NHL put on a great show at the Global Series. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the companies trying to televise the games back in Canada, however that’s here nor there.
The Atlantic division continues to be one of the best in all of hockey and for today’s rendition, we’ll touch down in Boston and Montreal.
Milan Lucic Enters NHL/NHLPA Assistance Program
Reports have surfaced stating Boston Bruins’ forward Milan Lucic will be entering the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.
Lucic was in a Boston Municipal Court earlier this week and entered a plea of not guilty to one count of assault and battery against a family member. He was then released on his own recognizance by the judge.
The Associated press stated Lucic did not speak in court and he’ll have a pre-trail hearing scheduled for Jan. 19. His bail conditions include a promise to appear in court when required to do so and Lucic cannot have any contact with his wife or consume any alcohol.
The NHL does not have a clearly defined domestic violence policy, however, Lucic could still discipline from commissioner Gary Bettman. For more on the story, visit Daily Faceoff. The 35-year-old Lucic has appeared in four games with the Bruins and is on a one-year deal worth $1 million.
Outside of the Lucic situation, the Bruins are a team to keep an eye on when it comes to the trade market. Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci both retired during the summer months, it became quite clear Boston would eventually be looking for some forward depth. If they dip their feet into the pool of probable sellers, Scott Laughton of the Philadelphia Flyers and Elias Lindholm of the Calgary Flames are two names they could check in on. That said, that doesn’t mean they’re in a rush. Considering the B’s sit atop the Atlantic with an impressive 13-1-3 record on the year, it makes sense they wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to make changes.
The Bruins continue to be led by their goaltending duo of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman as the two netminders have been on fire again this season, leading the entire NHL with a combined 2.18 GAA. The Vancouver Canucks sit in a distant second, posting a 2.42 GAA.
Canadiens Goalies Becoming Trade Candidates
According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the Montreal Canadiens three goaltenders are emerging as potential trade candidates as the Edmonton Oilers and GM Ken Holland, have checked in on the trio of Jake Allen, Samuel Montembeault and Cayden Primeau.
The Oilers have struggled this season and currently sit 5-11-1, third worst in the league and are allowing a dismal 3.88 goals per game. The Canadiens are tied for last in the Atlantic with 16 points and there’s becoming little doubt one of the netminders will be shipped out of town at some point this season.
Allen is the veteran of the group and the most expensive at $3.85 million against the cap this season and next. He’s also the only one with any trade protection, as he holds a modified no-trade clause which protects him from seven teams this season and only three in 2024-25. The Fredericton, NB native is 3-4-1 on the season and has posted a 3.54 GAA and a .907 Sv.%. In 29 Stanley Cup Playoff appearances, Allen’s numbers are impressive, not so much the 11-11 record but more so the 2.06 GAA and .924 Sv.%.
Montembeault, on the other hand, has also appeared in eight games for the Habs this season, collecting a 3-3-1 record along with a 2.78 GAA and .908 SV.%. Considering he’s six years younger than Allen and only $1 million against the cap for this season, the Canadiens may want to hang on to the 6-foot-3 netminder. Primeau, 24, is signed through next season at just $890,000 against the cap. While he’s played the least and the numbers aren’t stellar at 3.98 GAA and .895 Sv.%, the latter two could be the two Montreal decides to hold onto as the Canadiens aren’t going to be in the Stanley Cup playoff conversation anytime soon.
It’s rare to see a team carry three goalies on the roster, however the Canadiens seem to be as transparent as Allen had this to say about the team’s approach:
I think once you came to the realization it was going to happen towards the end of camp and throughout the year — internally, we knew it wasn’t going to be a short-term thing — you’ve just got to accept it for what it is and embrace it. I thought Cayden (Primeau) had a great training camp, Sam (Montembeault) has obviously proven himself to be an elite goalie in this league, so you have to just have a good way of looking at it. If you’re to handle it in any other way, you’re just going to hinder yourself. Have to be light about it.
After getting sick of each other during the preseason, the Canadiens and Maple Leafs don’t faceoff again until Mar.9 in Montreal. The Habs currently sit with a 7-9-2 record on the year and are tied for last in the division with the Ottawa Senators.
Nevertheless, the Atlantic division has been an intriguing one to follow this season and sometimes for all the wrong reasons. As for the trade chatter, it appears to be heating up in a major way and don’t be surprised if something goes down within the next couple of weeks.
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