It appears that star goaltender Carey Price will be unlikely to be able to play this season, meaning the Montreal Canadiens will have to put him on Long-Term Injury Reserve (LTIR)
When Carey Price ended this past season, he said he played his final game of the season like it could be his last one; and it looks like that may be the case, at least for the immediate future. For a proud and loyal goaltender who couldn’t see himself playing for any other organization but the Montreal Canadiens, Price stayed true to his word and gave his all in the few games he played at the tail-end of the 2021-2022 season.
Unfortunately, general manager Kent Hughes had the difficult task of telling the media Thursday night that their star goaltender would be unlikely to play this season due to his knee and that any hope Carey Price has of playing again would be by way of surgery. Although it is a huge blow to the organization and the players on the team, this is exactly the kind of foresight that Hughes was looking for this summer to allow him to make some moves.
Hughes wasted little time in using the eventual LTIR relief he is to get when Price and his $10.5M cap hit are to be put on LTIR, as he immediately used his newfound space to acquire centre Sean Monahan and his $6.3M cap hit from the Calgary Flames along with a conditional 1st round pick. The Canadiens, who were $248,000 under the salary cap prior to their acquisition of Monahan will be able to utilize close to the full relief of Price’s 10.5M cap hit in LTIR relief, giving them almost $4M more room in LTIR relief to sign Kirby Dach and continue to add to the roster.
“If you’re question is how are we able to accommodate this trade under the salary cap, the answer is this has less to do with a trade and more to do with Carey Price’s situation,” Hughes said when it came to where he had the cap space to make such a move. “At this point in time, the news on Carey’s knee is pretty discouraging in the sense that there hasn’t been any improvement through the rehab process all last season, obviously continued to create problems for him. This summer he went through the process, obviously a shot to the knee seeing if that would help. It did not, and, at this point, we don’t expect Carey to be available for the start of the season, quite frankly, I don’t know that there’s a path for Carey to return this season through the rehab process.”
With his newfound cap space, Hughes will have much more flexibility to execute trades leading up to the start of the season; a necessity that may come to pass, as they now have 16 NHL calibre forwards on their roster after the acquisition of Monahan.
For Carey Price, it’s a sad time for him and the franchise, as he’s been the major constant in the Montreal Canadiens organization and the bridge between eras for the storied club. His absence will be felt in the room and around the team in general and one could only hope that he is able to maintain good health and mobility if this is indeed the end of his storied career.