Carey Price is without a doubt one of the best goalies in the NHL, and this past season he was one of the few bright spots on a Montreal Canadiens team that finished dead last in the Eastern Conference.
Price finished last season with a goals against average of 2.43, which landed him tied for 18th among all goalies. This number was influenced by the shaky defensive played in front of him throughout the year.
As the goalie for a struggling team, Price faced 1,914 shots this season, which was the eighth most in the league. The constant pressure from opposing offenses wore Price down throughout the year, and he missed the final four games of the season due to a concussion.
Although Price did struggle at times this season, he was terrific in 2010 when he finished ninth in the league in goals against average (2.35) and first (tied) in wins with 38.
Price is an excellent athlete, and his 6'3" frame allows him to cover the net well. The greatest coaches in the world cannot teach size, so Price has a natural advantage over smaller goaltenders. He can make plays that smaller netminders can't make.
This postseason has made it clear that a hot goalie can carry a team a long way in the playoffs; just ask the Los Angeles Kings.
Price has the ability to lead the Canadiens into the playoffs every season, so it is imperative that general manager Marc Bergevin gets him to re-sign with the team.
Luckily for Bergevin, Price wants to work out a long-term deal with the Habs. This means that the biggest obstacle has already been overcome, and the two sides just have to get the money aspect right.
Price told the Montreal Gazette the following:
“I’m pretty confident we’ll get something done. I’m really not the type of guy who’s going to push everything to get (a contract) done faster. We’re trying to build a team here and we want to build it the right way. Rushing decisions isn’t the right way to do it.”
In a world where so many athletes want to renegotiate their deals as fast as possible, often at the detriment of the team, Price is willing to wait.
This says a lot about Price's character and demonstrates how loyal he is to the organization that drafted him.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin should be able to retain his goaltender at a fair price.
According to Mark Easson at mynhltraderumors.com, executives expect Price's new contract to pay on average $5.5 million per season.
This would mean that Price would move inside the top 10 for goalies in terms of yearly salary.
Price deserves to paid like a top 10 goalie, and he should only continue to improve in the upcoming years.
In a talented Eastern Conference, the Canadiens will need Price to keep their young squad in games. That, along with the pressure of playing goalie for such a legendary franchise, makes Price more than deserving of a big contract.
It may take a few years for Bergevin to build the Canadiens into a true contender in the Eastern Conference, but re-signing Price is a step in the right direction.