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Montreal Canadien Carey Price.
Until Carey Price proves himself in the playoffs, all he’ll ever be is a good goalie, not an elite one.
Some Habs fans consider Price a top-five goalie, but it’s become readily apparent since 2007-08 (his rookie season when he last won a playoff series) they’re thinking in terms of talent and not on-ice performance. Talent alone, as proven in the previous slide, does not win championships.
Price is an elite talent, no doubt, but in four playoffs since then, he has earned a save percentage above .900 once (2010-11 when the Habs lost to the Bruins in the first round). That’s not exactly top-five material. And, on the subject of this supposed top five, just who else makes the cut?
New York Ranger Henrik Lundqvist, Nashville Predator Pekka Rinne and Los Angeles King Jonathan Quick must clearly be included. So, that’s three right there, but only one current Vezina Trophy nominee (Lundqvist).
If fellow-nominees Antti Niemi and Sergei Bobrovsky are also deserving of top-five recognition, there’s just no room for Price. Some might argue on Price’s behalf that Bobrovsky may not belong as he’s only had the one awesome season. However, so has Price, but back in 2010-11.
Additionally, if that one season, what seems like ages ago, continues to serve as proof as to Price’s prowess in the crease, New Jersey Devil Martin Brodeur, the best goaltender of all time, also needs to at least be considered. Sure, Brodeur may be thought of as over the hill, but if one season is all it takes, Brodeur has had more than a couple.
Likewise in regard to the seemingly ready-to-retire Miikka Kiprusoff, who was simply atrocious this year (3.44 goals-against average, .882 save percentage). Still, the Calgary Flame had his last truly great season more recently than Price did (2011-12; 2.35 GAA and a .921 save percentage).
Admittedly, this is pretty absurd stuff. Price is clearly a better goalie than Brodeur or Kiprusoff at this stage of the game, but Price fans can’t have it both ways: You either judge a goalie based on his body of work or how he’s playing currently, and Price hasn’t been playing well going on two years now.
In the very same present, Ottawa Senator Craig Anderson, Detroit Red Wing Jimmy Howard, Boston Bruin Tuukka Rask and Chicago Blackhawk Corey Crawford have similarly proven themselves as being more capable than Price, putting him at best in the league’s top 10.
Price is obviously a better goalie than his current stats indicate (2.59 GAA, .905 save percentage), but, all the same, he has yet to show it on a consistent basis. He only did during short spurts this season, and spurts alone, unless they’re in the playoffs year after year, do not make a career.
They also do not make the Habs legitimate contenders.
Granted the Pittsburgh Penguins are getting by with average goaltending and they even won it all with Marc-Andre Fleury in net, but it’s probably best not to think about that. It serves as reminder of yet one more goalie who, as bad as he’s been, has amazingly had more playoff success than Price.