The second trade of the summer has occurred and while it’s not a blockbuster, this is great trade for all involved. Let’s break it down.
2022 7th round draft pick
St. Louis receives:
2020 3rd round draft pick
2020 7th round draft pick
Why this is a win for Montreal: Back up goaltending has plagued the Habs for years and Jake Allen is a massive upgrade. He instantly becomes the best backup Carey Price has ever had. This is significant because the problem has been so bad in Montreal that the Habs have overly relied on Price which has caused injury and fatigue issues. Carey showed this postseason that he is still All-World when he’s actually healthy and rested. Jake Allen will ensure that this remains the case. Allen has been a starter in his career and while he’s lost that role in the past, he’s coming off a strong season and is a luxury to have at backup. He’s the kind of goalie that can actually be played multiple games in a row and not create any worry. In the past it felt like the Habs were basically accepting a loss anytime they had to play their backup. Montreal can now go all 82 games with a quality goalie between the pipes and have Price rested for a playoff run if they’re in that position. Allen comes at a steep cap hit of 4.35M but the Habs have plenty of cap space and the deal is only for 1 year so there’s no risk. As for the draft picks, Montreal already had 14 picks in this draft so losing a 3rd isn’t a big deal and it actually makes sense to swap 7ths and move that pick to another year where they don’t already have so many. In summary, Montreal upgrades at their weakest position with no risk and essentially just had to give up a 3rd rounder in a year they’re already going into the draft loaded with picks.
Why this is a win for St. Louis: While I just finished singing Allen’s praises I don’t think he’s the right guy for St. Louis right now. Binnington had a disappointing sophomore season but the Blues had him pegged to be the starter and this gives him another chance while also being able to get a much cheaper backup. More importantly, this clears a significant chunk of cap space that the Blues desperately need for priority number one. Alex Pietrangelo. The Blues franchise defenseman is a UFA and leaving to another franchise would be a disaster. He’s a perennial Norris candidate and was perhaps the best D in the entire league this year. Petro makes any good team a contender and St. Louis loses their most important player without him. They still might need to make more space but this was a great start. As for return, they did pretty well. They only had 5 picks in this draft and would be happy to swap 7ths to get more players this year. A 3rd round pick isn’t huge, but again they needed more picks and probably got as good value as possible on a cap dump move. There are a massive amount of goaltenders on the market this summer which will drive value down. Armstrong avoided that mess and got at least something back for Allen now rather than potentially having to dump him later for a zero value return. In summary, St. Louis gets much needed cap space, upgrades their draft and avoids possibly losing Allen for nothing.