Montreal Canadiens Free Agents: Why Habs Did Right Thing Locking Up Carey Price

Taylor Shire@@TShireGlobalContributor IIIJuly 10, 2012

Get off of me
Get off of meBruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Price was right for the Montreal Canadiens.

Carey Price, the Habs goaltender, recently signed a six-year $39 million contract. This deal was inevitable it seemed, as Price went into the offseason as a restricted free agent. Both sides came out happy and are now focusing on their goal to winning the Canadiens' 25th Stanley Cup.

Price is the Habs' backbone; there's no debate about that. He carries the load most nights and can win games outright.

He can also be at fault for some weak goals, but the Habs did the right thing in locking up this 24-year old.

Price can play around 70 games a year and puts up good numbers. The Habs want that to continue.

There are some doubters like Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette, who questioned if Price can actually be a proven winner in Montreal. Todd said the deal could turn out to be a bargain, but it could also be "the noose than hangs the franchise."

Price is an All-Star; he has stolen games; he is in the running to be Team Canada's starting goalie in the upcoming Olympic Games.

So why is Todd questioning him?

Well, because Price hasn't had deep playoff success in the NHL. He has appeared in 26 playoff games and has a record of eight wins, 15 losses and three overtime losses.

These are not numbers that go hand-in-hand with an annual $6.5 million salary.

Price is a laid-back individual who stays close to his roots and cherishes him hometown of Anaheim Lake, British Columbia. The money won't affect him much. He'll have a little but more freedom and be able to afford nicer things, but it won't go to his head.

The Habs hope that by giving Price this six-year deal, he will continue winning games for Montreal until he's 30. If he remains at his peak, the team will lock him up again.

But if it doesn't work out, the Habs could be in some trouble. Price is the third-highest paid goaltender in the league behind Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist. However, if he falters, the Habs will only be off the hook in six years, compared to other deals of 10-15 years.

Todd said the Price contract was "too fat." Jonathan Quick, a recent Stanley Cup winner, just signed a 10-year deal than will see him earn $5.8 million a year. Quick has proven he can win (albeit once) and that deal is almost twice as long as Price's. The difference in salary is less than a million dollars.

In a year from now, we could be looking back on this with a more solid argument. Price could be a Stanley Cup winner and the contract could seem brilliant.

The young goalie has already matured into an elite netminder far earlier than his colleagues. At 24, he has been to three All-Star Games and he's been unflappable most nights in the pressure cooker that is the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Todd said, "It’s put up or shut up time for Price." He went on to say he doesn't think Price has it in him, but "I hope he proves me wrong."

Well you know what Jack, Price will prove you wrong. He has all the tools in his bag to do so. He just needs some help in front of him and good things could happen.