January 7th, 2018 is the day that Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin first mentioned the word reset when talking about his team. At the time, the Habs were doing poorly. This statement was telling the fans that he wasn’t going to blow up the entire team. Instead, Bergevin was going to make the team better through drafting and developing young players while staying competitive. We’ve seen this plan go into effect when the organization drafted players such as Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Cole Caufield, Alexander Romanov, Cayden Primeau, Jordan Harris, and Mattias Norlinder. We’ve also seen it when he traded Max Pacioretty for Nick Suzuki and Tomas Tatar.
The plan seemed to work as the 2018-19 season was considered to be a success for many fans. However, it seems like this season, the Habs have taken a step back. They finished 24th in the regular season compared to 14th the season before. This raises a controversial question amongst Habs fans. Is it time for the Montreal Canadiens to move on from Carey Price? In order to complete the reset, it is.
Montreal Canadiens Might Have to Trade Veteran Goaltender Carey Price
The Montreal Canadiens Perspective
It looks like the salary cap will stay flat for the next few seasons. Carey Price is making $10.5 million for the next six seasons. When Bergevin signed that deal, he thought that the salary cap would go up every season and that Price’s deal wouldn’t look as lucrative going forward. It would be a challenge for the Habs to have a good forward core and a good defence core when they pay their goaltender $10.5 million per season. Especially considering the fact the Bergevin needs to sign Domi this offseason and many players such as Tatar, Brendan Gallagher, Phillip Danault, Joel Armia, Artturi Lehkonen and Jeff Petry next offseason.
Obviously, in an eventual trade including Price, the Habs would have to retain some salary in order to be able to move him. It would be worth it, as they would still get rid of a lot of money under the cap.
Acquiring Assets for the Reset
Moving Price would make sense for the Habs as they will obviously get some assets back. It’s hard to predict what the Habs could get for number 31, but they surely will be able to acquire some good assets especially if they retain some of his salary. While keeping the reset in mind, the Habs could ask for a few things. They could ask for draft picks that they would develop in time to have players on entry-level deals by the time they become contenders. Also, they could ask for prospects that they believe could fill a need such as a left-handed defenceman. Finally, they could also ask for a young veteran that a team would want to part ways with. All of these assets could help the Habs tremendously in completing their reset.
Who Will Replace Price?
That’s a great question. In the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Montreal Canadiens selected Cayden Primeau 199th overall. He was a steal in the seventh round. By the time Price gets traded, Primeau would be 22 years old and should be able to play in the NHL full-time. He would have time to develop while the Habs finish their reset and he should be in his prime when the Habs finally become contenders.
We’ve seen Carter Hart becoming the starting goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers when he was only 20 years old. Primeau is seen as an amazing prospect in the crease and there is no reason to believe he wouldn’t be able to do it at 22 years old.
Seattle Could Welcome Carey Price
Going on a Cup Run Right off the Bat
Seattle will make its debut in the NHL in the 2021-22 season. This expansion draft will have the same rules as the one held in Vegas back in 2017, except for the fact that Seattle won’t be selecting a player from the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights were able to make it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in their debut season in 2017-18. Obviously, Seattle’s general manager Ron Francis will try to do the same thing. Vegas dealt draft picks and prospects in order to be good when they acquired Tatar and later on when they acquired Pacioretty. It’s hard to imagine that Ron Francis wouldn’t try to do the same thing. As we know, goaltending is really important especially when it comes to playoff hockey and so, trading for Carey Price would make sense for Seattle.
The Marc-Andre Fleury 2.0
Marc-Andre Fleury has been an amazing story since joining the Golden Knights in 2017. He helped the franchise make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2018 as a 34-year-old veteran goaltender. Marc-Andre Fleury is a fan favorite in Vegas and helped the marketing side of the Vegas Golden Knights. Seattle could find their Marc-Andre Fleury in Carey Price. In the 2021-22 season, Price will be 34 years old and there is no reason to believe he won’t still be a great starting goaltender. He would help Seattle to be a great team right off the bat. Price would also be a fan favorite since he played for the Tri-City Americans in the WHL which is a team based in the state of Washington. That would help the marketing side of Seattle’s expansion team.
Carey Price’s Perspective
Trying to Win a Stanley Cup
In order for the Montreal Canadiens to move Carey Price, he will have to waive his no-movement clause. Price could do it as he would get the opportunity to win a Stanley Cup before retiring. We now know that it is possible for expansion teams to be competitive right off the bat as demonstrated by the Golden Knights. Price could be tempted to go to Seattle and have a shot at winning his first Stanley Cup that he probably won’t be able to win anytime soon in Montreal.
Going Back Home
Another factor that could make Price waive his no-movement clause is going back home. I know Price was born in British Columbia but, as mentioned earlier, he played in the WHL for the Tri-City Americans in the state of Washington. Also, his wife Angela is from the region and he could finish his career close to home with his family.