Heading into the new season, goaltender Sam Montembeault will serve an important role as the Florida Panthers’ backup.
Just recently, Sam Montembeault accepted his qualifying offer, which will keep him in South Florida for another season at $708K.
For the Florida Panthers, this gives them another year to decide if they want to move forward with Montembeault as the backup.
Given the recent arrival of Sergei Bobrovsky as the team’s new No.1 stopper and the latest first-round selection in Spencer Knight, the crease will primarily be occupied as someone not named Sam Montembeault.
Now, this doesn’t mean that Montembeault doesn’t have a future with the Panthers for the foreseeable future; however, it does mean that his chances of becoming the future starter are very slim and it’s almost guaranteed at this point that he will have to play as the second fiddle.
Regardless, all good teams that go far into the postseason have a competent goalie tandem that provides them with enough confidence to go all the way. If the Cats want to reach those lengths soon, then they’re going to have to get the most out of their two netminders.
Instead of shopping on the open market for a backup netminder, the Panthers have their own in the cost-efficient Sam Montembeault.
While Montembeault isn’t starting material at this point in his career, he still offers respectable presence as a backup at the NHL level.
Through the eleven games he featured in last season, he gave the Panthers a chance to win in most of those matches, instilling enough confidence in his teammates that goaltenders like James Reimer failed to do. For a 22-year-old who was just thrown into the fire, that’s pretty impressive to pull off.
Likewise, as he continues to age and tighten certain kinks in his game, Montembeault will only continue to get better and could turn into one of the league’s best backup goaltenders in a short period of time.
Also, the addition of Sergei Bobrovsky shouldn’t only improve the Panthers’ crease, but his experience, presence, and knowledge should undoubtedly have an impact on the young Montembeault.
Having Bobrovsky mentor Montembeault is the perfect plan to help ensure that he gets the appropriate guidance as a youngster. What better way to provide that than to have a former 2x Vezina winning goaltender at your disposal?
Bobrovsky checks off everything on the criteria list that you could ask for from a mentor. His winning pedigree should influence Montembeault’s game and mentality, which plays a big role in a goaltender’s success.
Montembeault is still young and needs the time to learn from veterans around him. The Panthers are in no need for a starting goaltender and can afford to take their time on Montembeault and even Spencer Knight.
At this point, playing Montembeault as a backup is essentially the best position you could place the youngster in. Not only is it a comfortable role in which he can handle, but it puts him in the best possible position to succeed, which is what you want from a goalie his age.
If the Panthers are going to book their ticket for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, then they’re going to need to ensure that everyone plays their part accordingly. Part of that includes netminding, and for that to work, Sam Montembeault is going to have to embrace his new role as the backup goaltender to Sergei Bobrovsky.