Canadiens' Carey Price Reportedly Not Picked by Kraken in NHL Expansion Draft

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 21, 2021

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JULY 07: Goaltender Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens looks on during the third period of Game Five of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on July 07, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Florence Labelle/NHLI via Getty Images)
Florence Labelle/NHLI via Getty Images

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price reportedly wasn't selected by the Seattle Kraken as part of the 2021 NHL expansion draft.

Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic reported the Habs will retain Price, who's under contract through the 2025-26 season as part of an eight-year, $84 million deal. Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff Hockey reported Montreal is "likely to lose" defenseman Cale Fleury instead.

The Kraken's selections will be announced Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.

Price's $10.5 million cap hit for the next five seasons was likely a crucial factor in Seattle's decision. Financial flexibility is perhaps the most valuable commodity an expansion franchise has, and committing that much of the $81.5 million salary cap to a 33-year-old netminder would have come with risk.

The 2005 first-round pick was terrific during Montreal's underdog run to this year's Stanley Cup Final, where it lost to the reigning champion Tampa Bay Lightning. He posted a 2.28 goals against average and .924 save percentage across 22 playoff games.

His regular-season performance over the past two years hasn't lived up to that standard or the one he set in 2014-15 en route to winning the Hart Trophy as the NHL's MVP and the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender.

Price has compiled a 2.74 GAA and .907 SV% across 83 regular-season appearances since the start of the 2019-20 campaign. His goals saved above average (GSAA) over that span is minus-4.9, per Hockey Reference.

Those numbers combined with the high number of potentially valuable goalies available led the Kraken in a different direction.

Seattle has agreed to a three-year, $10.5 million contract with goalie Chris Driedger, an impending unrestricted free agent who will count toward the team's pick from the Florida Panthers, per Tim Booth and Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, the Kraken are likely to select a more cost-effective option from Montreal in Fleury, a restricted free agent who carried a $771,666 cap hit in 2020-21.

Fleury, 22, tallied just one goal in 41 games during his rookie season with the Habs, but he projects as a reliable defensive blueliner in the coming years.

It's possible his 25-year-old brother, Haydn Fleury, will also end up with Seattle after being left exposed for the expansion draft by the Anaheim Ducks.