CH: Jake Allen feels ready


LAVAL-SUR-LE-LAC – Jake Allen been in the hockey world long enough to know that things can change quickly.

The 32-year-old goaltender would never have thought of occupying the No. 1 position with the Montreal Canadiens. And yet, this is exactly where he is at the dawn of his third training camp with the team, which he will begin without Carey Price by his side.

« It’s unfortunate that we can’t have Carey this year, » he said at the team’s golf tournament on Monday. For me, personally, it’s a great opportunity to play more games. I haven’t had the chance in the last few years with the context and the injuries.

“I will be able to build my game and help guide this team by being a solid presence in goal. »

TO READ : Nick Suzuki was named captain of the Canadiens | The reconstruction of the Canadiens well underway… and even finished? | Canadiens: Echoes of the golf tournament

The task does not look easy behind a team in full reconstruction. On the other hand, with expectations very low and fans seeming to have accepted that their favorites won’t be fighting for a playoff spot, the context is likely favorable for him.

In all likelihood, Allen and his assistant Samuel Montembeault will be far from confronting the pressure to which Price was subjected for many years.

« I feel good right now, » Allen said. And I think Monty is a good resource for me and for our team. He showed last year that he could play several games and offer good minutes. I think we will be able to form a strong duo. »

If the two goalkeepers are struggling, they can at least turn to Price, who will be in the team’s entourage this season even though his name is on the long-term injured list. Struggling with a knee injury, the 35-year-old veteran was also present at the golf tournament on Monday.

« It’s huge, not just for us, but for the whole organization, » Allen said. He’s the longest-serving guy on the team, he’s the face of the franchise. He has so much experience, it’s important to have guys like him around. It’s good to know that he will be there when we need him and his advice. »

Within the new leadership group made up of Captain Nick Suzuki and his deputies Joel Edmundson and Brendan GallagherAllen will also be able to take a little more on his shoulders.

The New Brunswicker is in the last year of a two-year contract, and admitted to having already had discussions with the staff of the team for a possible extension. If the two parties can’t come to an agreement, he could also become an attractive target at the trade deadline.

“I prefer to focus on this team at the moment, he hammered. I have no control over my future. I want to do well for this group, be a leader on and off the ice and take it to another level. What will happen will happen. I’ll do my best and hope to stay here for a while. »

young squad

While the CH attack looks a little more menacing than last year – on paper – the youth of the defensive squad could well be a worrying aspect for Allen.

“I approach this with a lot of optimism, he retorted. Our veterans will play a lot of minutes, but they will help the youngsters, I’m sure. These veterans will be of crucial help to them. »

Behind the Edmundson veterans, David SavardMichael Matheson and Chris Wideman, two rookies should start the season in Montreal. Young people Justin BarronKaiden Guhle, Jordan HarrisMattias Norlinder, Arber Xhekaj and Corey Schueneman will be in the running for a position.

« It’s not easy to start in this league at this age, » observed Edmundson. I didn’t play until I was 22. I can hardly imagine what they are going through. We’re going to have a few youngsters, but they’re going to be good. When they got the call, they did well last year. »

“I think they will learn quickly, predicted Savard. We saw some at the end of last season. They are young people who want to learn and who are smart on the ice. I have no doubt that they will learn very quickly and be effective from the start of the year. »

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