Carey Price is not protected.
I said it. I don’t think it was completely real to me until now.
Over the past few years, Price has had some ups and downs in the regular season, which has given rise to much speculation that he has run aground. But, every year in the playoffs, he proves those stories to be wrong. This year, in particular, I don’t think the Montreal Canadiens manage to make the playoffs without the absolutely exceptional goalie he provided.
I’m not saying Price was the reason alone, because you have to ultimately score goals to win games. However, Montreal ranked 10th in terms of scoring rate of all playoff teams, so it has a lot to do with playoff success.
He had the second best goal recorded above average (GSAA) according to Natural statistics tip and the third best goals recorded above expectations (GSAx) according to Evolution-Hockey. Evolution-Hockeythe definition of GSax is practically the same as Natural statistics tipIt’s both taking their individual “expected goals” model and then determining how many shots a goalie has managed above or below a league average goaltender.
We thought the reason Montreal was leaving Price unprotected was because he still had five years at an average annual value of $ 10.5 million, while Jake Allen seems like a better option for a salary cap team. I’m not sure the cap alone would deter me if I was Ron Francis, but on Sunday we learned that there were concerns that Price would need knee surgery that would prevent him from playing for the season. Price himself suggested the show to make sure the Canadiens had at least Allen to start the season.
While this medical news doesn’t deter the Seattle selection team, the most obvious comparison is Marc Andre Fleury’s situation in the last expansion draft, when he became the face of the Vegas Golden Knights franchise. in 2017 at the age of 32.
Price is 33 years old and his contract runs until he is 38. I don’t think anyone expects him to perform at the highest level by then. After all, Pekka Rinne has just announced her retirement at 38 after a disappointing season.
Rinne led her team to a Stanley Cup final at 35, and Fleury led her team to a conference final this year at 36. Not everyone can be Martin Brodeur stacking the leg warmers in the final at 40, but that’s not uncommon. for a goalie in his mid-thirties to hold the fort for a rival team. If Carey and his team play their cards right with load management and good conditioning, probably at least three more years ago, we can expect him to be able to perform at a high level.
Depending on how Francis builds his team and how competitive he wants them to be, this may be the best compromise he can hope for; overpaying for a goalie for a few years to buy yourself a playoff round or two while you build a farming system to establish long term success.
Before this news broke, I was preparing an article explaining why I wasn’t sure Francis would catch Jake Allen, but Price leaves me a little more worried. Maybe it’s good to be excluded from this contract, maybe not. All I know is it would leave a gaping hole in the roster after a playoff performance like the one we just saw.