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Canadiens Won’t Trade Price By Deadline But What About The Offseason?

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Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price is essentially off the NHL trade market as the Habs head toward arguably the most important NHL Trade deadline in the franchise’s storied history. What about the 2022 offseason and beyond though?

“I think he’s very much in play next summer if he can return this season and prove he’s healthy enough to play,” one NHL executive told Montreal Hockey Now. “In fact, I think if he had come back in January and played a solid stretch of games with the team getting blown out less than they have recently, the Avs, Oilers, and Canucks would’ve come knocking at the deadline.”

Price told the media this past Sunday that at this point, he has no intentions of waiving his full no-movement clause for a fresh start with another team.

“I haven’t made any plans to do so,” Price told reporters Sunday. “My family and I are very happy here. We’re settled in. This is our home. There’s a reason I signed the contract I did here with a no-movement clause. As of right now, I have no plans to be anywhere else.”

Given the uncertainty of his health and the likelihood that he may not even play in another game by the time the March 21 NHL trade deadline arrives, that was really a moot point at this time; that is unless some team would be crazy enough to take on a goalie on a bum knee and the four years remaining on his eight-year contract that carries a $10.5 million salary-cap hit per season. The Habs are headed for at least a retool, if not a rebuild, in the coming months and offseason, and very likely way beyond that. So, while Price’s words should at least be taken at face value, for now, let’s not forget that Price waived his no-movement clause to be exposed in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft for the Seattle Kraken.

The NHL’s 32nd franchise passed on the future hall-of-famer but don’t think for one second after the Philipp Grubauer failed experiment, they wouldn’t be willing to look into Price’s availability on the NHL trade market in the offseason. The same goes for the aforementioned teams above and probably more. As Price’s tumultuous comeback bid and just the NHL, in general, this season has proved, things change in a hurry. To rule anything out after this disastrous season for the Canadiens would be simply asinine.

New Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said that he and Price were able to at least meet face-to-face this past Saturday and try and get on the same page.

“We spoke to him Saturday,” Hughes told the Athletic on Monday. “Had a good chat with him. There’s not a lot he can say. He’s recovering from surgery and every time he steps on the ice he’s had a setback. He’s going to try it again here. And we’re going to see how the knee responds and go from there.

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But it’s hard to know, it’s hard to see the path right now. I’m not a medical expert and I don’t know the full extent of the issue that persists here. I’m worried that it didn’t work the first two times.’

That’s why Hughes and Gorton have no choice but to keep an open mind and not rule anything out when it comes to retooling, rebuilding, or whatever you want to call their challenge ahead.

“I would say we’re viewing it as we’re open to everything,’’ Hughes added. “We don’t feel this immediate need to get everything done at the trade deadline.”

Hughes and Gorton will make moves between now and then and then between the NHL trade deadline and the beginning of free agency in mid-July. Make no mistake, a Carey Price trade is still very much a possibility.

 

 

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