The Habs take a big risk and fans are upset.
Last week, Habs fans everywhere were left in shock when it was announced that Carey Price had waived his no-movement clause in order to be exposed at the Seattle Kraken expansion draft.
The Habs’ goaltender exposure issue had been trending for a while, as rumors of Seattle taking Jake Allen at the draft were circulating. Allen had a terrific year with the Canadiens and is on a good contract, making him very appealing to Seattle. Since Price had a no-movement clause preventing him from changing teams, Allen was forced to be exposed.
Losing Allen would’ve been hard on the team, as he showed the importance of having a true number two goalie, helping the Canadiens clinch a playoff spot while Price was injured. Exposing Price to protect Allen is a smart move, but incredibly risky at the same time.
The thought was that Seattle wouldn’t want to take on Price’s huge contract, especially since they have already acquired the rights to Panthers goalie Chris Driedger. It was later reported, however, that Seattle was considering taking Price, causing Habs fans to panic.
I think it is highly unlikely that Seattle takes Price, as having that big of a contract on your inaugural year can definitely hold the team back, but this is the NHL, and anything can happen. In order to prepare for the worst, we have to look at what the team would look like without Price. In the end, there are positives and negatives of this outcome.
Of course the main issue would be losing the face of the franchise. Price has been with the Canadiens organization since 2005 and has stayed loyal ever since. This year’s playoffs proved that he is still one of the best goalies in the league, and his tandem with Jake Allen was a key point to the Habs’ success. While Allen can definitely be a starter, who will back him up? Cayden Primeau has a lot of potential, but he needs more development.
On the other end, the positive is cap-space. Losing Price frees up 10.5 million dollars of cap space each year which can be used to sign a top free agent or trade for a big-name player. The Habs have been linked to many high-caliber players, such as Dougie Hamilton, JT Miller, Elias Pettersson, and more. The extra money would allow us to acquire one of these players easily, and find a solid second goalie for Jake Allen.
Overall, I still think the negative outweighs the positive. Price is such a big part of this team and losing him to Seattle would mean the end of an era. Yes, his contract is expensive, but with both Tatar and Danault likely leaving in free agency, this clears some cap space for the team to sign someone new while keeping Price. Right now, Bergevin needs to be ready for anything. Whether Price stays or leaves, I can tell that this offseason will be big for the Habs.