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Canadiens Facing Delicate Situation Regarding Carey Price Trade

Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes navigates cap space strategy with Carey Price’s uncertain future and contract.

Montreal Canadiens General Manager Kent Hughes is navigating an uncertain situation regarding goaltender Carey Price’s future and his sizable contract. As the team tries to save cap space and potentially make bigger moves when they are considered serious contenders, Price, 36, is facing an uncertain hockey future due to a lingering knee injury. And, his annual salary-cap hit of $10.5 million is a bit of a hurdle, especially seeing as he has three seasons remaining on his contract.

Yes, the goaltender is expected to go on LTIR, and no, he’s probably unlikely to ever play again in the NHL; but Hughes is taking a cautious approach to handling Price’s contract, aiming to delay placing him on long-term injured reserve (LTIR) until the NHL season begins. The rationale behind this decision is to preserve flexibility during the season, as Hughes elaborated during a recent video conference.

Placing Price on offseason LTIR would mean committing his salary cap space upfront, limiting the team’s financial maneuverability for the entire season. And, if the Canadiens are expected to make a move this year that will dramatically improve their team, a lack of flexibility isn’t ideal. Last year, the Canadiens faced challenges with injuries, recalls, and bonus payments, which resulted in cap overages carrying into the following year. They don’t want to see it happen again.

As Arpon Basu pointed out in a recent post in The Athletic, the Canadiens’ meticulous cap management strategy has been a recurring theme in their recent decisions. Pierre LeBrun and Michael Russo even suggested that GM Kent Hughes might be accumulating cap space for a significant move. Before these two reports, Hughes potentially hinted at a possible trade, noting, “LTI isn’t a perfect situation for any team. I know some people think it’s simple and you just use the money that that player’s salary was occupying, but it’s a little bit more complicated.”

Carey Price Montreal Canadiens
Carey Price Montreal Canadiens

The team unloaded Shea Weber’s contract and there is a belief that they might try to do the same with Carey Price. But, there are considerable challenges due to its duration and value. Hughes noted, “I think there’s always a possibility to do things. I don’t know what that looks like, and I don’t know ultimately if that ever happens, but I certainly wouldn’t describe it as an impossibility.”

Can the Canadiens Trade Carey Price?

As the Canadiens continue their strategic cap management and Carey Price’s future remains uncertain, the NHL community will closely watch their decisions and potential developments in the coming seasons. The fate of one of the league’s top goaltenders and his massive contract remains an intriguing storyline in the hockey world.

Next: Truth Behind Rumors Maple Leafs Are Pursuing Patrick Kane

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Chris

    September 11, 2023 at 3:07 pm

    They could trade for Seth Jones. They get a decent defender (well, decent for someone at two-thirds of his salary), while Kyle Davidson gets to continue unloading players from the former regime. It’s kind of a lose-lose but maybe would serve each team’s purpose.

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