The Edmonton Oilers might be satisfied with how goaltenders Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner are currently playing, but if the team has the chance to pick up a future Hall of Famer like Carey Price they should look into it. With the Montreal Canadiens currently searching for a new general manager, and after a weak start to the 2021-22 season, the team might be considering a rebuild as they look ahead to the 2022-23 season.
Trading Price could be a real possibility this season, and if the Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland can swing a deal where the Canadiens retain some of Price’s $10.5 million a year salary, then Price could be a real possibility for the Oilers for the playoffs. This might be a big ask for Holland, however; the Oilers ate all of Duncan Keith’s contract in the trade for Caleb Jones this past offseason, but stranger things have happened.
A Lot of “What Ifs” Need Answering
If the Oilers’ starting goalie Mike Smith comes back in January, and retains the form he showed last season, it might be time to trade Koskinen and his $4.5 million salary. Koskinen has played well this season, and has outright stolen games against the St. Louis Blues and Vegas Golden Knights, but there are still questions as to whether he can up his game for the playoffs. He still has a tendency to let in the first or second shot, which has deflated the Oilers’ bench during his time in Edmonton. However, he is currently among the league leaders in winning percentage and this might make him a good fit to share the net with current Montreal starter Jake Allen.
Another “what if” to consider is who Montreal would want back in a trade. In a recent radio interview on Edmonton’s TSN 1260, Montreal reporter Brian Wilde talked with Alan Mitchell about the idea of trading Price to the Oilers and mentioned the Hab’s might want a player like Dylan Holloway in return. Holland has previously mentioned that the Oilers’ first-overall pick could be in play, but you have to believe if the team were to be in serious talks with Montreal about Price that they would have to shed more than Koskinen’s or Holloway’s salaries. Could trading Kyler Yamamoto or “Bison King” Jesse Puljujärvi be a possibility? It would be a risk, but to get a future Hall of Fame goaltender could be worth it, especially considering the Oilers appear to be all in for a Stanley Cup playoff run this season.
Why Price Makes Sense
News broke this week that Price has started skating at the Canadiens’ practice facility again. After offseason knee surgery in July, as well as his personal leave in early October, it appears he is on track to rejoin the team early in 2022. Price was the No. 1 reason the Habs went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final last season, and at the age of 34, he still might have a few good seasons ahead of him.
A move to Edmonton might also make sense from a geographic and family perspective, as Price and his family share time in Kelowna, British Columbia and Washington State in the offseason. With Holland being from the BC interior and making deals to help players like Keith and Smith be closer to their families (and offseason homes in Penticton and Kelowna), he might be the right general manager to offer Price a similar situation for his family.
Price Grew Up in Western Canada
Price tending goal for the Oilers could be a pipe dream for fans, but there are a lot of tangibles that could make sense. He might want a trade as the Canadiens work out their plans for a new general manager and possibly a new coach for next season. He is also closely involved with the First Nations community in Western Canada, and being closer to where he grew up could make sense on a personal level. But there is still that $10.5 million contract, and the Oilers are already dangerously close to the cap. What would you do if you were Holland? Would it be worth it to pursue Price? Who would you be willing to give up to make this trade happen? Your thoughts and comments are always welcomed.
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D. Edward Bochon covers the Edmonton Oilers. His background is in marketing writing where he worked with the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Football Club (now known as the Elks), and the Edmonton Rush of the NLL.