The big news out of Montreal is that general manager (GM) Marc Bergevin asked Carey Price to waive his no-movement clause and be exposed to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft this week. This was confirmed when the protection list came out and Price was not on it. What does this mean? Well, it could mean many different things, but the consensus is, that with his high contract and injury issues, the odds are he won’t get picked. For the Canadiens, it’s a win-win situation whether he gets picked or not.
Price’s Injuries Could Save Him From Being Chosen
It has been revealed that Price is going to see a doctor in New York about a knee injury that could require surgery and have him out for possibly half of the upcoming season. If this is the case, then Seattle GM Ron Francis may want to reconsider selecting Price, not just because of this injury, but also because of his recent injury history. Over the past few years, he has had knee, hip and ankle injuries that have kept him out of the lineup.
If Francis decides he wants to draft Price, he will need to make a full assessment of whether the 34-year-old netminder and his injuries will be worth the $10.5 million contract that comes with him. If he deems the contract fine, and Price is his guy, he will be the goaltender for the Kraken whenever he is ready to return next season. It would be hard to imagine Francis would take that gamble with such a high risk and contract. If Price were healthy, he would be protected.
Canadiens Could Free up a Lot of Cap Space
If Price does get selected by the Kraken, then the Canadiens will free up his $10.5 million in cap space, giving almost $25 million available to spend in the offseason. With many high-priced free agents (FA) and rumours of high-priced players on the trade block, the team could do well to plug major holes in their roster with this much money. The Canadiens currently need a top-four defenseman and a top-six winger; of course, they would also need another goaltender.
With Shea Weber potentially out for the season with multiple injuries, the Canadiens will probably need two top-four defensemen, and they won’t come cheap. There are some big names on the FA market, such as Alec Martinez and Dougie Hamilton, both of whom could go a long way in improving the Canadiens’ defence and replacing Weber’s minutes. They could also use the money to offer sheet a restricted free agent (RFA) like Elias Pettersson of the Vancouver Canucks or Andrei Svechnikov of the Carolina Hurricanes. With nearly $25 million to spend, they would have the freedom to do almost anything they liked to improve the club.
Price Stays in Montreal
If Price isn’t selected because Francis feels the risk is too high, then the Canadiens keep their superstar goaltender; they do not need to look for another goalie to help Jake Allen mind the crease and, after Price is healed, the team hopefully returns to the playoffs. They will lose someone at the expansion draft, which will free up anywhere from $1.8 million to $5.5 million off their roster — the hope is that Paul Byron ($3.5 million) or Jonathan Drouin ($5.5 million) will be selected, and the Canadiens gain a good chunk of cap space.
The Canadiens will still have close to $20 million in cap space if Byron or Drouin are selected, and they can still sign some FAs, just not with the freedom they would have if they lost Price’s contract. Price is still one of the best goaltenders in the world, and he proved that in this year’s Stanley Cup Final. If Bergevin can fill the holes in front of No. 31, then the Canadiens could find themselves back in the finals next season, especially with Price as their netminder.
No matter how this expansion draft goes, Montreal will still be sitting pretty; if Price does get picked, they have tons of money to improve the team. If he doesn’t get selected, they still have a fair amount of cap space along with one of the best goalies in the world. I don’t see Price getting selected, but would it really be that bad if he did?
Trege Wilson has been a freelance content writer for the past four years and with the THW for the past year. He is the co-host of the popular Montreal Canadiens podcast Habs Unfiltered on IHeartRadio.com.Trege is very passionate about all things Canadiens and loves to provide his readers with great quality news, rumours and opinions on the Montreal Canadiens. Trege has also been featured on JblamSports and JDFSports Podcasts; for interviews and guest appearances, you can contact him at any of his social media accounts listed under his photo in such articles as this one.