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Seeking Insurance: What if Price Can’t Play?

By JD Lagrange – As much as we hate thinking about the possibility of Carey Price not playing next season, or at least not starting the season on time, it’s an unfortunate reality. After missing most of last season due to a knee surgery that wouldn’t heal, he came back at the end of the season, only to suffer yet another setback. There is swelling in his knee. Price received a second opinion and it was suggested that he went through yet another surgery. At the time of writing this, we are awaiting the news about his decision.

Canadiens’ General Manager Kent Hughes hinted, in his season-ending press conference, that the team would be seeking a potential insurance in the event Price can’t go next season, by adding depth at the goaltending position. The experience of Jake Allen, Samuel Montembeault and Cayden Primeau has not paid dividends, particularly not when Allen was injured.

Whether it was under Marc Bergevin or Hughes, it seems like the team was looking for solution while Price was out. First, it was a rumour stating that the Canadiens were interested in Joonas Korpoisalo of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Later in the season, it was Ilya Samsonov of the Washington Capitals.

Top UFA’s

The Canadiens will have a few options this off-season. They could go after one of the pending unrestricted free agents (UFA) on the market. Here’s a list of a few potentially interesting candidate. Admittedly, some are more interesting than others on this list.

NAMEAGETEAMGPWLSOGAASv%
Darcy Kuemper32COL57371252.54.921
Jack Campbell30TOR4931952.64.914
Marc-Andre Fleury37MIN56282342.91.908
Mikko Koskinen33EDM45271213.11.903
Ville Husso27STL4025722.56.919
Casey DeSmith30PIT2611632.79.914

The pros of going the UFA way is that it wouldn’t cost the team any assets to sign them. The cons is that other teams will also be interested in them, which could raise the cost cap-wise for them. As the Canadiens are looking at shedding salary cap, Hughes will have to be mindful of that aspect.

Through Trade

There is also the possibility of trading for an experienced goaltender. Here’s a handful of candidates that could be available and could provide the Canadiens with some much needed experienced depth in the organization.

NAMEAGETEAMGPGAASv%CAP HIT
James Reimer34SJS482.909.11$2.25M (22-23)
Ilya Samsonov25WAS443.02.896$2M (21-22 / RFA)
Semyon Varlamov34NYI312.91.911$5M (22-23)
Alexandar Gorgiev26NYR262.92.898$2.425M (21-22 / RFA)
Joonas Korpisalo28CBJ224.15.877$1.3M (22-23)

The Habs do have some interesting assets to trade, including some contracts as most of those teams aren’t tight against the cap next season.

This is the second summer in a row that we have no certainty about Price’s health and about his future. And let’s call a spade a spade… the outlook isn’t promising.

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