The organization has always believed in Carey Price’s upside.
Jaro Halak is the redheaded step-child who became a playoff hero.
Pardon the pun, but with a hefty arbitration award looming, Halak priced himself out of the Canadiens’ plans.
But his postseason heroics didn’t vault Jaro’s trade value into the stratosphere, but it’s a buyer’s market for goaltenders: Evegeni Nabokov, Anterro Niitymaki, Marty Turco, José Theodore, Chris Mason, Ray Emery … not to mention recent Vezina laureate Tim Thomas.
At least they dealt him to the Western Conference, where John Davidson gets to negotiate with Allan Walsh.
Carey Price lost many tough-luck games this season. Flukes, deflections, weird plays.
Adversity didn’t break him. The erstwhile Franchise was more mature. He worked harder and was an unfailingly supportive teammate while watching Halak become a playoff legend.
Now it’s his team, and the pressure on Price will be enormous.
One or two soft goals, a bad outing and the whole city will be talking about Jaro’s 53 saves in Game 6 against Washington.
The Canadiens have given Price an enormous vote of confidence.
What Pierre Gauthier has to do now is improve the team in front of his goaltender – including a D that will begin the season without Andrei Markov.
Lars Eller and Ian Schultz do not guarantee a return to the Conference finals.
On the other hand, cap-wise this may free up enough to re-sign Tomas Plekanec.
Could Price have brought greater value? Maybe a front-line player, like Jeff Carter from the Flyers.
But Pierre Gauthier weighed salary cap considerations, organizational depth and his faith that Price can become a star.
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Funny Tweet from Dan Tolensky:
Habs did pretty well getting Rucinsky & Kovalenko
in the deal. I mean Eller & Schultz. Also, Thibault is the future in
goal. I mean Price.