Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Canadiens re-sign Price

Yesterday, the Canadiens re-signed Carey Price. The franchise goalie signed on the dotted line, reaching agreement on a new six-year contract worth $39 million. It's a cap hit of $6.5 million with the soon to be 25-year old former '05 first round pick set to earn $5.5 million in the first year with the final two years bumping him up to $7 million by the time he hits 30.

In five seasons with Montreal, Price has gone 124-104-35 with a 2.56 GAA (goals-against-average), .916 save percentage and 16 shutouts. He already ranks eighth in team history with 271 appearances. After busting out in '10-11 with a career best 38 wins, 2.35 GAA, .923 save percentage along with eight shutouts, he failed to duplicate it. Instead, the Habs struggled finishing at the bottom of the East. Despite inconsistent play in front of him, he still won 26 games while posting a 2.43 GAA and .916 save percentage. He had four less shutouts (4) and appeared in seven fewer contests (65) due to the club's struggles and a concussion.

Price becomes one of the highest paid netminders despite only one big year. Sure. He's good. Without him, Les Habitants would arguably be the worst team in hockey. Their backup was Peter Budaj. On the plus-side, he's a three-time All-Star including consecutive trips the past two seasons. Certainly, Carey is good. It's just that now there will be much more pressure. Every start will be magnified. Since they unloaded Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis following a surprise run to the Conference Finals, Price is the guy. He handled it well.

The Canadian Press can be maddening. Just look at how they covered Price's preseason struggles last Fall. It led to some resentment from the Habs' franchise goalie. Exhibition games are meaningless. That kind of criticism served as a distraction, leading to a poor start which they never recovered from. At least new GM Marc Bergevin is moving in the right direction, adding physicality and character with ex-Ranger Brandon Prust and former Leaf Colby Armstrong. He also re-signed Travis Moen and brought back defenseman Francis Bouillon.

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