MONTREAL - Saying that the Montreal Canadiens have no problems between the pipes would be a lie. Of course, Halak and Price are very good goalies, but there's nothing like having a good, older veteran goalie to act as a mentor and, at the same time, be able to take the net when needed.
There's no doubt that Carey Price is THE goaltender for the Habs. Yes he has been one of the key elements to bring the team to the playoffs and go through the first round against Boston. But, in the series vs Philadelphia, it was clear the kid ran out of gas. It is not criticism but rather an observation. And it was good for him.
Carey Price now knows that NHL playoffs is a full flight of stairs higher than the AHL. The intensity, emotion and speed skyrockets when you step into the NHL. But all that happened to him from the day Crisotbal Huet was traded up to the last game he played was all great experience.
Should the Canadiens look to sign a good 35-36 years old veteran to backup Price? Can we get such element in a trade involving Halak? Should we keep Halak? This is a happy problem but at the same time a mind wrecking problem.
Signing a free agent?
If (Bob) Gainey signs a free agent goalie, what do we do with Halak? There's no way Halak will accept to return to Hamilton. He will most likely ask to be traded or, worse case, go play in the European league.
What could the Canadiens get for Halak alone? Nothing much I think. So if this is the option Halak will have to be traded along with another prospect or a high draft pick or a combination of both.
This would be a dangerous option. Halak will be 23, and Price 21 when the 2008-2009 season will start. This would probably be the youngest goalie duo in the NHL.
One of the two current goalies have to leave. I will bet a twonie that Price is not going anywhere. So the only option for Bob Gainey is to trade Halak with another prospect and/or a high draft pick. Who could we get?
These are my choice (in no particular order):
Olaf Kolzig (Washington)
Curtis Joseph (Calgary)
Chris Osgood (Detroit)