NHL Free Agency 2012: Carey Price Holds Montreal Canadiens Hostage, Benefits

Robert TheodorsonSenior Analyst IJuly 3, 2012

MONTREAL, CANADA - FEBRUARY 5:  Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens watches play during the NHL game against the Winnipeg Jets at the Bell Centre on February 5, 2012 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Canadiens defeated the Jets 3-0.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Rewind back to the summer of 2010 when the Montreal Canadiens decided to trade away their playoff hero, Jaroslav Halak, who led the Habs all the way to the Eastern Conference finals after upsetting the heavily favored Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.

It was that July that the Montreal Canadiens sealed their destiny: They would live or die with Carey Price.

After drafting Price fifth overall in the 2005 NHL entry draft, the Habs had named their goalie of the future. The 17-year-old from British Columbia would finally be what many had hoped, Montreal's next Patrick Roy.

With his pedigree and status as a high draft pick, Price was the chosen one in Montreal from the moment he put that legendary sweater on.

On July 2, 2012—still a restricted free agent and only 24 years old—Price was the huge beneficiary of being a good player on a bad team and, furthermore, the Canadiens' only option in net: According to a report by the AP (via si.com), Price and the Canadiens struck a huge deal, inking the young netminder to six years and $39 million.

The deal with pay Price $6.5 million per year, with no deviation in salary according to CapGeek.

On one side of the coin, with the salary cap going up to $70 million, teams are able to spend a little more this year without having to worry about crunching numbers. Price is Montreal's franchise goalie, he needed a long term deal and he is probably the best player other than a healthy Andrei Markov that the Habs currently have on their roster.

On the other side, the fact of the matter is that Price was grossly overpaid due to his ability to manipulate Habs management without even having to speak a word.

 Consider the following:

  • Price has a record of 8-15 in the playoffs with a 2.84 GAA and a .907 save percentage while recording three shutouts in 26 appearances.
  • Jonathan Quick, the reigning Stanley Cup champion, signed to a new decade-long deal, makes $700,000 less a year than Price. The Stanley Cup runner-up and legendary goalie Martin Broduer makes $2 million less than Price annually.
  • Price is making only $375,000 less than Henrik Lundqvist and $500,000 less than Pekka Rinne, two of the three Vezina Trophy candidates.
  • Goalies with higher or equal draft positions to Price are making less money: Marc-Andre Fluery (No. 1 overall), $5 million; Kari Lehtonen (No. 2), $3.55; Roberto Luongo (No. 3), $5.33; Rick DiPietro (No. 1), $4.5

Even though Price might have not yet earned the dollar amount he is being paid, rest assured that everyone's happy with this deal.

The Canadiens won by locking up their franchise goalie. (The new salary cap did nothing but help big-market teams like Montreal.)

Carey Price is 24-year-old multimillionaire.

And the fans of Montreal don't care what he's paid as long as he plays as hard as he can and eventually wins a championship.