OK, folks, I have been getting a lot of emails, tweets and other messages, about the possibility of the Habs trading Carey Price and signing another goalie to take his place. I am here to tell you that while I do not have powers of divination and that anything is technically possible, these rumours sounds like total folly to me.
There are a lot of rumours out there simply because Price has not yet signed and there really isn’t much to talk about regarding the Habs. The big names that we are hearing in the rumour mill are Antti Niemi and Jonas Hiller, but either sounds completely ridiculous to me.
I mean, did Pierre Gauthier put his neck on the line by trading playoff hero, Jaroslav Halak, just so he could turn around and also trade or let Price go? Does that sound logical to anyone out there? Even if Gauthier did intend to trade Price, wouldn’t it have been better to do so earlier in the offseason when teams had more cap room to play with?
Right now, teams are making their final tweaks before training camp, not looking to make blockbuster deals as much. Moreover, most of the goaltending positions have now been filled and there are still a bunch of veterans—Niemi, Theodore, etc—who are waiting to see if they will have a job to start the season.
Trading Price and bringing in another goalie as their first-stringer just doesn’t make sense. There is a principle called Occam’s razor which, in essence, states that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.
So, what makes more sense? That Pierre Gauthier when faced with the best, young goaltending tandem in the league, got rid of fan favorite, Halak, and kept Price only to then push Price aside for another goaltender? Or, that Price and the Canadiens are still working on a deal, are separated by term, but will get something done before training camp because both parties want this partnership? So, if that’s the case then why is Price not yet signed?
Because he doesn’t have to be.
Gauthier mistimed his moves and traded Halak while Price was unsigned. That move gave Price move leverage than he had while Halak was still part of the team. But make no mistake; Price still has very little leverage.
As Arpon Basu points out, Price is a restricted free-agent with no arbitration rights—something that Gauthier was sure to point out during his press conference.
As such, the only choice Price has is to try to get as much as he can out of the Canadiens but ultimately to sign a deal, or to holdout and not report to training camp.
Being a holdout, is a non-starter. Price already knows that many people preferred Halak to him and are unhappy that he is the one who is still in town. Knowing that he will be playing at least the next year in Montreal, Price simply cannot risk the negative backlash that being a holdout would bring upon him. Can you imagine the venom that people would spew on this kid?
Perhaps the only way that Price will holdout is if he no longer wants to play in Montreal. Holding-out would place one of his feet out of town and I don’t believe that he is yet ready to go down that road.
If you listen to Tony Marinaro on the Team 990 today, he said that Price wants a five-year deal while the Canadiens want to sign him to a two-year deal. Price’s agent is wisely trying to squeeze the most that he can out of the Habs because he has the luxury of time, but at the end of the day he knows that Price really has no leverage.
This deal will get done, folks, but it might go down to the wire.
So read the rumours, talk about them, and even feel free to fantasize about the possibilities. But please, for the sake of sanity, think about what you are reading in the macro sense and not just the micro. Often, when you do, you’ll find that the simplest explanation is usually the right one.