This may be hard for many Montreal Canadiens fans to hear, but a rebuilding phase may be on the horizon. It is truly shocking to see how badly the Canadiens are playing this season, but in a way, there were warning signs. The Canadiens failed to upgrade their defensive core this offseason and did not make any significant changes, besides trading for Jonathan Drouin. Also, the P.K. Subban trade is starting to hurt them a lot more because Shea Weber is starting to show signs that he is declining. They let far too many players go and did not replace them with quality players. So, if this truly is a rebuild, is it time to trade Price? Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet thinks so, which only adds fuel to the already raging rumours of a huge trade on the horizon.
In this article, we will be looking at 8 teams who could trade for Carey Price and 7 teams he would never play for. Now, the possibility of Price being traded is definitely slim to none, but if this tanking continues that could change pretty quickly. The Canadiens need to find an identity because clearly they are no longer Stanley Cup contenders. What is stopping them from trading away their franchise goalie? If they can manage to acquire a handful of top tier players and prospects, it would definitely be a move to consider. Price’s $10.5 million cap hit will be absolutely useless if the Canadiens are not a Stanley Cup contender.
With that said, let’s take a look at where Carey Price could end up and where he definitely will not.
15 In The Running: Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes are an NHL team that currently can be classified as in-betweeners. They are not necessarily bad enough to be rebuilding, but they are not exactly close to being contenders either. They have a pretty strong roster full of young defensemen and top forward Jeff Skinner, but other than that, they have a lot of issues with their depth.
A way the Hurricanes can jump to contention is by trading for Carey Price. Scott Darling is a solid NHL goalie, but he is not good enough to make the Hurricanes a top team in the Eastern Conference. Price would automatically make the Hurricanes far better than what they are now and finally help them back to relevancy. It would also help the struggling market in Carolina.
14 Never Play For: Boston Bruins
Carey Price will never wear a Boston Bruins’ jersey because (although he may end up traded in theory) he would never be willing to play for the Canadiens’ top rival. Price has been through many battles against the Bruins and realistically the Boston fanbase cannot stand him as well. They are also currently mired in some salary cap issues.
Although the Bruins pay Tuukka Rask like he is an elite goalie, Price would be a huge upgrade. Rask’s play has dropped dramatically over the past few years and he does not necessarily put up starting goalie numbers. At the end of the day, Price will never end up on the Bruins because of his own choice. Also, Montreal would never trade him to a division rival.
13 In The Running: Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames truly are on the cusp of being a contender in the NHL because they not only have a handful of elite players, but they also are very young. The Flames are continuing to get better each season and that is mainly because of their superstar forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Yet, there is a big piece still missing.
The Flames have not had a steady NHL goalie on their roster since Miikka Kiprusoff retired. This season, they have Mike Smith and he is doing a fairly good job there. Yet, if the Flames want to win a Stanley Cup soon, they need a goalie with the skill of Carey Price. The Flames are missing one puzzle piece right now and Carey Price could be the perfect solution to take them all the way.
12 Never Play For: New York Rangers
The New York Rangers are rapidly showing that they are a team that are falling out of contention. It is truly incredible that they never ended up winning with Henrik Lundqvist during his prime, and now that he is starting to drop off it appears it will never happen. With that said, the Rangers could be a team that could use the help of Carey Price.
Although Price on the Rangers would be a dream come true for their fans, it will never happen because of the Chris Kreider incident a few years back. Kreider appeared to intentionally collide with Price on a breakaway and it led to Price being injured for the rest of that season. Ever since then, it is easy to believe that Price has a sour taste toward the Rangers, so it is highly unlikely he would ever play there.
11 In The Running: Buffalo Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres are a team that appear to be heading in the right direction on paper, but are consistently failing in the process. It is apparent that they are a better team since the start of their rebuild, but are still failing to execute at this point. The biggest reason behind the Sabres’ failure right now is simply because they lack an elite goalie like many teams today.
Carey Price would make an excellent addition for the Sabres because it would give them a true franchise goalie. The Sabres have a strong centre core, but other than that are truly lacking in all departments. With Price as their number one goalie, their chances of being a contender spike up immensely and everyone in Buffalo knows that needs to happen soon.
10 Never Play For: Washington Capitals
The Washington Capitals may have lost their final chance of winning a Stanley Cup during the Alexander Ovechkin era. After two outstanding regular seasons in a row, they simply could not get by the Pittsburgh Penguins. With the Capitals now losing a huge chunk of their stellar core and Ovechkin getting another year older, this is a team that simply will not win anytime soon.
With all of that said, there is no way that Carey Price will ever play there. Besides the fact that the Capitals are on the downswing, they still have a franchise goalie in Braden Holtby and that will not change. Price may not necessarily be an upgrade from Holtby because Holtby is younger and has a few more years left in his prime. Price to Washington just will never make sense.
9 In The Running: Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche are definitely in the start of a rebuild, but they are already making solid progress. The Avalanche have a solid crop of young players with outstanding potential and are performing far better than last season. An area where the Avalanche need to improve in is their goaltending and if that does not change, they will continue to be at the bottom of the league.
Carey Price to the Avalanche may be a long shot, but it would make a lot of sense for them. Price could provide them with a franchise goalie, which is something they have lacked since Patrick Roy retired. Also, speaking of Roy, the Avalanche and Canadiens have a pretty active trade history. With all of this said, Price could very easily end up in Colorado.
8 Never Play For: Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins are in a wonderful place right now and very well could end up winning the Stanley Cup again this season. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are still in their primes and they have a whole crop of young players who are only continuing to get better. Also, the emergence of Matt Murray came at the perfect time and he has not even reached his full potential yet.
Now, there is no doubt that the Pittsburgh Penguins would love to have Carey Price on their roster, but that simply will never happen. Matt Murray is the future of the Penguins and Price simply would never fit the mold as well as Murray does. Also, if Price were to accept a trade to Pittsburgh, he would run the risk of being a potential backup goalie in the future, so that will never happen due to his enormous contract.
7 In The Running: Philadelphia Flyers
The Philadelphia Flyers have all the pieces to transform themselves into a future contender, but it is taking a fairly long time. Superstars like Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek are still in their primes and are desperately trying to carry the Flyers to the playoffs. This will not happen until they fix their goaltending issues with a permanent franchise goalie.
With all of this stated, the Philadelphia Flyers would be an ideal candidate to acquire Price. Although the Flyers still have some work to do in terms of building a contending team, Price would help them immensely in that regard. The Flyers have been searching for a permanent number one goalie for quite some time and they should look to trade for Price at some point soon.
6 Never Play For: Los Angeles Kings
The Los Angeles Kings are starting to show signs of being a top tier team in the NHL again and that is a great sign for their future. The past two seasons have been absolutely abysmal for the Kings because they have failed to find ways to win, even with a superstar filled lineup. The biggest change this year is the fact that Dustin Brown has seemed to find his game once again and that could carry them to glory once more.
Although the Kings are a very talented hockey club, there is no way that Carey Price would ever play for them. The Kings already have a franchise goalie in Jonathan Quick and them getting rid of him is truly a longshot. Quick has had far more success in the playoffs than Price, so it is very unlikely that they would elect to acquire Price over him. Los Angeles will never go after Price.
5 In The Running: Detroit Red Wings
After decades of being a true contender, the Detroit Red Wings have finally found themselves as a rebuilding team. They are already showing signs of being a team on the rise and that is great news for Detroit fans. It is only a matter of time before we see the Red Wings back near the top of the league, but they need to change one thing to make that happen.
The Red Wings lack an elite goaltender and that is why they should look to trade for Carey Price if he becomes available. Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek are very solid NHL goalies, but they simply are not enough to help Detroit ever win a Stanley Cup. With that said, if the Red Wings want to be one of the league’s best teams again, they need to look to acquire Price from the Canadiens.
4 Never Play For: Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning are absolutely lethal this season and it is easy to understand why when looking at their roster. Now that Steven Stamkos is healthy, the Lightning finally have their franchise player available and very likely could make the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2015. Besides Stamkos, they also have Nikita Kucherov absolutely dominating the NHL and proving he is a top tier talent.
With the Lightning showing that they are a true Stanley Cup contender, in theory, Price being traded to there would make a lot of sense. Yet, it simply will not happen with the emergence of goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy is still only 23 years old, yet he has the composure and skill of a veteran superstar goalie. With that said, Price simply would not be worth the investment and the Lightning should go with the kid.
3 In The Running: Winnipeg Jets
The Winnipeg Jets are finally becoming a true contender in the NHL and their fans are extremely hyped about it. The Jets have one of the best young cores in the NHL today and are only going to continue to get better every season that passes. Players like Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine have the ability to carry this team offensively for years to come.
With all of that said, the Winnipeg Jets seem to have all of the pieces of a championship caliber team, but they lack a superstar goalie. The Jets have Connor Hellebuyck and he is having a fantastic season, but realistically it is very unlikely that he will keep it up based on his track record. They could look to trade for Price for this reason and potentially become the league’s top team.
2 Never Play For: Toronto Maple Leafs
The Toronto Maple Leafs are finally one of the better teams in the NHL and that is mainly because of the young trio of, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and William Nylander. Besides these three franchise players, the Maple Leafs also have a handful of top leveled veterans and an elite defender in Morgan Reilly. They could use an upgrade in net and that should happen in the future.
Although Carey Price would be an ideal candidate to join the Maple Leafs, it simply will not happen because of the rivalry between the two teams. Price wearing blue and white would be blasphemous and the Canadiens would never be willing to help one of their toughest rivals. Also, it is unlikely that Price would be willing to join a market that has criticized him for years with their notoriously unforgiving media.
1 In The Running: Edmonton Oilers
What a difference two seasons can make. After finally overcoming their rebuild phase and having a solid playoff run, the Oilers are back to being at the bottom of Western Conference. It is easy to believe that this will change, but this rough start has shown that they need a lot of changes to find consistency. With that said, expect to see the Oilers make some big moves soon.
The Edmonton Oilers would be a prime candidate to trade for Price because it is apparent that their time to win is now. Cam Talbot is a very talented goalie and has helped the Oilers become relevant again, but upgrading to Price would be very beneficial. The Oilers have arguably the best forward in the NHL, Connor McDavid, and Price would make them seemingly unbeatable and could form the foundation of a new Oilers dynasty.