Carey Price is arguably the best goaltender in the NHL. Drafted fifth overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2005, Price has gone on to a stellar career so far winning the Ted Lindsay, Jennings, Vezina and Hart trophies, all in 2015. He became the first goalie in history to win four awards in one year. Add in Gold medals at the World Juniors, World Championships and Olympics, and it’s easy to see why Price is considered the best goalie in the league.
But he doesn’t have a Stanley Cup, and while he has been the face of the organization for more than a decade, Montreal still hasn’t won it all with Price in net. It’s no fault of his considering the scoring troubles Montreal has had, along with their lack of defence.
Price comes with a heavy price tag on him, as next season he will earn $10.5 million against the salary cap, the most for any goalie in the league. But his time in Montreal could be nearing an end. At 30 years old, the window for Price to win a Stanley Cup is closing, and Montreal isn’t in the position to contend for it in the next couple of years. The list of teams that would want Carey Price in net would be long. In fact, all 30 teams could make a case for him. But Price likely has his list of teams he wouldn’t want to play for, and teams he would, both for many reasons. Here is our list of those teams.
16 Wouldn't: Detroit Red Wings
After 25 seasons of making the playoffs, the Detroit Red Wings missed out last season, and look to be on their way to be doing it again. The last time the Red Wings missed the playoffs twice in a row was 1981-82 to 82-83, in what was a five year stretch where they didn’t play beyond the regular season. Mike Babcock also left the Wings before last season to head to Toronto.
The Red Wings are in full rebuild mode and aren’t going to be a likely destination for Carey Price.
He would want to join a team that is willing to win now. Detroit just isn’t in that position, and wouldn’t be able to give Price a chance at a Stanley Cup ring any time soon.
15 Would: Vancouver Canucks
Carey Price is a native of British Columbia and still calls it home in the offseason. So, despite Vancouver needing to go through a rebuild process, Carey Price would easily accept a move to the Canucks, giving him a chance to be closer to his family and the city he loves. It would also be a jump start to the Canucks rebuild process, solidifying them in net for the long term, as opposed to seeing wave after wave of goalie come into their system only to leave. With the Sedin twins likely to retire in the next year or so, the franchise is in need of a new face, and who better than the hometown boy, who by the way, is the best goalie in the NHL.
14 Wouldn't: Washington Capitals
There would be plenty of upside to playing in Washington, as the Capitals have a dynamic offence, one of the games most energetic players in Alex Ovechkin, and are a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference. They also have a No. 1 goalie in Braden Holtby, who has won 40 games or more in each of the last three seasons for the Capitals, and recently won the Vezina in 2016.Washington also has a history of choking in the playoffs.
Despite being a powerhouse, they seem to never make it to the Stanley Cup final.
They have managed to lose in the second round each of the past three seasons. Price wouldn’t offer much more than Holtby already is, so he would still be relying on the enigmatic offence of Washington to lead him to a Stanley Cup final.
13 Would: Toronto Maple Leafs
With the Toronto Maple Leafs firmly in a rebuilding mode, Carey Price would solidify their goaltending situation. He would instantly take them from playoff contender to Stanley Cup contender in short order. With one of the games brightest stars in Auston Matthews, along with William Nylander and Mitch Marner, Toronto is full of young talent that is just about to break away and become a dominant team in the NHL. Price is also no stranger to big game atmospheres, having played in Olympic finals where he won gold. As well, Montreal is another hockey hotbed like Toronto, so Price would be used to the constant media attention he would get if he moved to the Mecca of hockey in North America and took up the crease for the Maple Leafs.
12 Wouldn't: New York Islanders
The New York Islanders are not the Madison Square garden team the Rangers are. While they will have a new arena to play in shortly, they are still not a team that is going to give Carey Price any chance of winning the Stanley Cup in the next few seasons. Even more so if the Islanders lose their franchise player in John Tavares, who is looking for a new deal and would be worth a pretty penny on the open market. If the Islanders were to lose him, they would have to start from scratch, and the rebuild could be starting all over again. This wouldn’t be what a 30-year-old Olympic gold medalist net-minder would be looking for at this stage in his career.
11 Would: Winnipeg Jets
The Winnipeg Jets have quietly built one of the best teams in hockey. They are finally seeing all their hard work and rebuild efforts flourish this season, as they are near the top of the entire league standings. Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson have held the fort down for the Jets this season, but adding Carey Price would make the Jets the sure No. 1 favourite to win the Stanley Cup this year.
For Price, who still doesn’t have that ring to his name, it would be pretty hard to pass up an opportunity like that.
He would also stay in the Canadian market, so it wouldn’t require much effort to move to Winnipeg. Though he should buy a nice winter jacket due to the extreme cold.
10 Wouldn't: Columbus Blue Jackets
With Sergei Bobrovsky firmly between the pipes, Columbus isn’t looking for another goaltender at this time, and Carey Price would not likely be looking at them. When you consider that in the past five seasons the Blue Jackets have only made the playoffs twice, losing both times to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round, Columbus just isn’t an enticing place for a goaltender who is looking to win his first Stanley Cup. Columbus did have a 108 point season last year, but have fallen down the standings this season and look to miss the playoffs again. Not a great confidence booster when wanting to lure Carey Price to your organization. Especially when you already have a Vezina trophy winning goaltender in your ranks.
9 Would: Calgary Flames
Mike Smith has been a suitable net-minder for the Calgary Flames, and has helped them contend for a playoff spot. But he isn’t a long-term solution at 35-years-old. Eventually the Flames, who have been going about a quiet rebuild of their own, will need a solid net-minder between the pipes. Carey Price would be a great option. When you add the defensive core of T.J. Brodie, Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton and Travis Hamonic, you have a core that won’t be giving up loads of shots on Price, and will be there for assistance to bail him out when he needs it. He’s over-worked in Montreal, so Price will want a team that is solid on the blue line so he doesn’t have to steal the show every night.
8 Wouldn't: New York Rangers
Carey Price is unquestionably one of the top goaltenders in the NHL. So too is Henrik Lundqvist, as the King has taken up his reign in New York since 2000. Despite being 35 years old, he is still one of the best in the game. The blueshirts don’t need another top tier goaltender, and Price could realistically look at the Rangers and think if they can’t win a Stanley Cup with Lundqvist in net, what difference would he make?
Since the Rangers run to the finals in 2014, they have slowly started to slip down the standings and have been a wild card team heading into the playoffs.
For a goalie wanting a Stanley Cup ring, Price would want a team on the upswing, not one on the down.
7 Would: Dallas Stars
Carey Price would want to go to a team that is primed and ready to make a Stanley Cup push, while also needing a starting net-minder to get them there. The Dallas Stars fit that bill, as Dallas is one of the top teams in the NHL this season, but has had a rotating goalie problem for the past few seasons. This year, they are trying with Ben Bishop and Kari Lehtonen, but if they want to avoid the constant trend of missing the playoffs every other year, they might need to turn to a true No. 1 goaltender in Price to get them over the hump. Not to mention that Dallas has been picked as one of the best cities in the NHL to live in.
6 Wouldn't: Buffalo Sabres
Buffalo continues to get young star power players but continue to end up in the basement of the NHL standings. The Sabres have made the playoffs only four times since Carey Price entered the league, and in the last four seasons, they have been eighth in the Atlantic Division three times.
This year looks as if they are primed to finish at the bottom again and get another high draft pick.
That is great, except they haven’t made the playoff since 2011, and Price isn’t going to want to play for a team that isn’t a Stanley Cup contender to get him that ring he hasn’t won yet. Sure he would give the Sabres a chance to make the playoffs, but that isn’t what the best goalie in the league is looking for, he wants it all.
5 Would: St. Louis Blues
St. Louis has an offensive juggernaut team on their hands and has had no issue putting the puck in the net. They have finished with over 100 points in three of their last four seasons, and missed out last year by a single point. And considering they did this with Brian Elliott, Jaroslav Halak and Jake Allen in net, it shows how good the Blues are from the forwards back. But the window for the Blues is going to start closing as their young core gets older, and more expensive, so the time to make a move for them on the Stanley Cup would be now, and having Carey Price in net would easily make the Blues the team to beat in the Western Conference.
4 Wouldn't: Arizona Coyotes
The Arizona Coyotes are one of the worst teams in the NHL and have gone through so much ownership controversy that no NHL star is going to want to be traded to them and play for them until that is all sorted out. Carey Price could easily give Arizona a true starting net-minder. But beyond that, he would be peppered with shots every night, would undoubtedly miss the playoffs, and have to play out through another rebuild of an organization that many are hoping relocates to Quebec City. This would mean Price would be right back in Quebec in no time. There just isn’t any good reason for Price to pick the Coyotes as a team to play far, as they are so far away from a Stanley Cup, Price would basically be writing that off his bucket list.
3 Would: Minnesota Wild
The Minnesota Wild are a goaltenders dream, as they have one of the deepest defence cores in the NHL. Matt Dumba, Jonas Brodin, and Ryan Suter are the big names for the Wild, who continue to ride Devan Dubnyk, who won 40 games last season and is in the run for a Vezina trophy year after year. And while Dubnyk has been a good option for the Wild, Carey Price is a far better option, and would give the Wild a chance to focus a little more on offence, as opposed to collapsing on defence. Price would instantly become the starter, giving the Wild a great trading chip in Dubnyk, who is still only a few years removed from some dreadful seasons playing in Edmonton.
2 Wouldn't: Edmonton Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers may have one of the best players in the game in Connor McDavid, and a great group of young talent, but after a successful run in the playoffs last season, Edmonton has seemingly gone back to their old ways of giving up way too many shots on net and goals, leaving their net-minder hanging out to dry.
There is still so much work to be done in Edmonton, and Price would have to contend with McDavid for the spotlight.
It wouldn’t be a great fit for him, considering Edmonton isn’t close to winning a Stanley Cup, and Price would have to stand on his head like he does in Montreal night after night to keep the Oilers in games.
1 Would: Vegas Golden Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights have had their fair share of goaltender issues in their first season, cycling through everyone due to injuries. At one point, they were even calling up WHL prospects to play because Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban were injured. And while back healthy, the two make a good pair, Carey Price would be the instant star of the team and solidify the Golden Knight crease for years to come. Price has had some injury problems, but for the most part he has stayed health and been a standout net-minder. And with the Knights on top of the NHL and ready to make a push for a Stanley Cup in their first season, Price would be good to jump on the bandwagon and become part of history.