Carey Price is the debatably the best goalie in the world. In my eyes he is the best goalie at the moment and has been for several years, but unfortunately he hasn’t taken his team to the highest point in hockey. Price’s contract will take him to the end of the 2017-18 season, but then becomes an unrestricted free agent at the age of 29. Obviously, this will be a highly anticipated free agency to see if he will re-sign with the Montreal Canadians or decide to move on and see if he can join up with a team with a better offense to win a cup.
Its hard to envision Price not as a Montreal Canadian, he’s been there his whole career and it would be very strange to see him wearing different colors. Price deserves a Stanley Cup and it would be a shame to see him go into the Hall of Fame without one. I think it is safe to say if the Canadians would win the cup this year or next you could solidify Price as a life long Canadian and a first ballet Hall of Famer. However, if they don’t win it all this season or next we might be seeing Price in a different uniform, which ones? Lets see some options.
15 Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche have struggled tremendously this season and that comes with a bit of surprise because, on paper, their roster seems to be somewhat competitive. Their goaltending issues are a major problem with their struggles. Semyon Varlamov has only recorded six wins this year and on top of that he has some off-ice issues as well. That’s not a good combination.
This could open eyes of the management in Colorado. With a young group of talented forwards you can see if Price would sign a contract with Colorado they could easily be a playoff team. Cup contender? Probably not, but I can see Colorado moving on from Varlamov because of his character and low performance. Colorado has some time to think about it and Varlamov has some time to get his stuff together.
14 Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto is one of the brightest young teams in the NHL right now and they are going to be good for years to come. Their goaltending situation is pretty good right now too with Frederik Andersen as their main guy. The part that makes everything interesting is what they decided to do with the expansion draft. They are going to have to decide if Frederik Andersen is valuable enough to protect him from getting drafted from the Las Vegas Golden Knights. If they decide not to protect him I would say that he would be a legitimate option for Las Vegas to draft him, thus opening a possibility to land Carey Price.
A lot of things would have to happen for Toronto to acquire Price, but it isn’t impossible. A major concern, like all teams, would be the salary cap. Assuming that you would be paying Price $6.5 million per year, Toronto could run into issues there since some of their players may be due for a pay raise.
13 Vegas Golden Knights
The chances Carey Price ends up as a Golden Knight is slim, but is still plausible. The goaltender situation wont be known until the Expansion Draft happens for the Golden Knights, but perhaps they have Carey Price in their mind knowing that he will be a free agent after the 2017-18 season.
The Golden Knights will have a very low expectation in their first year as a franchise so maybe they don’t worry about drafting a high caliber goalie and focus on building a solid core group of forwards and defenseman instead. Then come July 1st, 2018, they can make their best pitch to Price to convince him to move out to Las Vegas.
12 Buffalo Sabers
The Sabers have been consistently one of the worst teams in the league for several years, but now they have been rebuilding and their core group of young players are making Buffalo fans have hope. Robin Lehner is their current goaltender and he has respectable numbers, having a .921 save percentage on the season. So where would Carey Price fit in? Well, the Sabers would have to recognize that moving on from Lehner could potential make them a contending team.
Lehner is actually going to be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2017-18 season, making Price a potential possibility for the Sabers. Lehner currently has a cap hit for $2.2 million and will be expecting a raise because of his solid work, which Buffalo decide he might not be worth it and will be exploring their options. Unfortunately, if you are a Sabers fan I don’t think Price would come unless you give him the max salary allowed, which could require moving other players to make room.
11 New York Rangers
I know what you’re thinking, why would Price go to the Rangers when they already have one of the best goalies to ever play, Henrik Lundqvist? Well, Lundqvist is getting up there in age, he’s already 35 and by the time Price is a free agent he might could be on his way out of the NHL. The Rangers have already been limiting Lundqvist’s ice time by splitting time with Antti Raanta. With getting older Lundqvist could be a ticking time bomb and could suffer an injury to force him to retire (God forbid).
The tricky part would be getting rid of Lundqvist’s expensive and lengthy salary, which sits at 8.5 million until the end of the 2020-21 season. If management could find away to get that money off the books I think Price would make a great fit with a Rangers team that is used to having a goalie to heavily rely on.
10 Ottawa Senators
The Senators have struggled to find a consistent number one goalie and with Craig Anderson being at the end of his contract at the 2017-18 season, the same as Price’s, it could make the Senators goalie pains go away if they could land Price. Anderson has been doing a great job for the club this year, but at 35 it could be his one of his last pushes for a winning season.
The Senators have been steadily progressing throughout the past three or four seasons and having Price would bump them up to a Stanley Cup contender. They have a great young offense that is set to be great for years to come, led by the great defenseman, Erik Karlsson. The Senators will need to make a push for Carey Price when he becomes available because the team they have now is only lacking a steady goaltender.
9 Arizona Coyotes
The Coyotes are another struggling team that hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2011-12 season. With promising young talent like Anthony Duclair, Max Domi, Jakob Chychrun, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson the Coyotes do have potential to be a playoff team in years to come. Mike Smith has not been the goalie they need him to be to be a playoff team. This year his goals against average is an unappealing 3.00.
Price coming to the Coyotes could give hopes for a deep run in the playoff come the season of 2018-19. For that to happen Mike Smith would need to be moved, perhaps at the trade deadline of 2017-18 season. That would leave him with a year left on his contract and could be a plausible trade option.
8 New Jersey Devils
Cory Schneider isn’t going to become a free agent for a long time, he is currently under contract until the 2022-23 season where he will be 35 years old. Schneider has proved himself to be a number 1 goaltender throughout his 300+ game NHL career. So much so that the Devils are paying him $6 million to do so.
The only way that Price gets to New Jersey is having Cory Schneider traded elsewhere. I don’t necessarily see this happening, but Schneider has been moved before because of another goalie beating him out. However, Price wouldn’t make the Devils a Stanley Cup contender right away if he would come by the 2018-19 season. The Devils would need to make additional moves or have some of their prospects perform better to really make them a legitimate threat. But, for a team and a fan base that had been spoiled by the works of Marty Brodeur, Price would definitely give them flashbacks.
7 Dallas Stars
The Stars have a unique and interesting goaltending situation. Niemi and Lehtonen are both 33 years of age and they really don’t know who their starter could be after this fail of a season. Niemi and Lehtonen are an experienced combination, but they also are costing the team a decent sum of cash. Combined the two goalies are taking up $10.4 million dollars worth of cap space. With such a powerful offensive team you think the Dallas Stars would be a Stanley Cup contender, but with the under achieving team, making goalie changes could instantly pay dividends.
Conveniently enough for the Stars Lehtonen, Niemi and Price are going to be unrestricted free agents all at the same time and Dallas could choose and should choose, to purse Price. Price would make an excellent fit for the Stars as they can keep generating offense while knowing they can play with mistakes because Price has the ability to bail them out when needed.
6 Florida Panthers
Florida is another great young team with some veteran leadership and that includes Roberto Luongo. Roberto definitely isn’t getting younger and somehow managed to get a contract with the Panthers through the end of the 2021-22 season where he will be 41 years old. Inorder for the Panthers to have a legitimate shot at winning a Stanley Cup, they are going to have to move on from Luongo.
Price could be the right fit for the Panthers if the situation plays out right. It will all come down to if Luongo either decides to retire or the Panthers open up the conversation to trade him, which could be very hard to do at his age and salary cap hit. The Panthers would definitely be in the conversation to be a favorite to win the Stanley Cup if they keep their talented core group of young players. It could be perfect timing if Price came in for the 2018-19 season where the current young players had another year of experience in the league and most of them being in their prime.
5 New York Islanders
The Islanders are having a somewhat surprising year after losing some key players in the off-season. Thomas Greiss is the current starter and is a cheap asset for as solid as he has been playing this year. However, the Islanders could have one of the best goalie combinations if Price would end up there. Of course they would need to move Halak or Greiss depending on which goalie they would want as their backup. Halak may have more trading power.
Price becoming an Islander would make this become a playoff team. Stanley Cup contender? Probably not, but having Price could potentially work out well financially for the Islanders if Greiss stays at his 3.33 million cap hit.
4 Detroit Red Wings
The Expansion Draft could potentially effect the Red Wings goalie situation. Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek have been very disappointing this season for the Red Wings and both of them have battled injuries, especially Howard. Mrazek will be a restricted free agent after the 2017-18 season and has made it clear that he wants to be the number one goalie for the team he plays for, which established briefly in Detroit. So, if the Red Wings decide that they are not going to protect either goalie in the expansion draft and say the Golden Knights take Howard Mrazek will be the goalie for at least one season. If Price decided to sign with Detroit after the 2017-18 season Mrazek could go explore his free agency options and Detroit could be solid goalie situation-having Price and making the salary room for him.
Price would be one of the more experienced guys on the Red Wings if he ended up there because of the rebuilding process Detroit is about to experience. With Price Detroit becomes what they have been for the past 3 years, a playoff team that gets bounced in the first round.
3 Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina has invested in an extremely cheap starter, Cam Ward. His $3.3 million dollar contract for the 33 year old is an attractive figure to be a back up. I’m simply suggesting that Price could come into Carolina at the start of the 2018-19 season and Ward could back him up, which would be a very respectable combination.
Carolina is a team that has been struggling for several years and they are continuing to rebuild. By the 2018-19 season they could have a playoff team with Price on the roster. Without him, they might continue to find them self’s at the bottom of the standings.
2 Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay recently got rid of their highly valued goaltender, Ben Bishop. Bishop was shipped off to the other side of the country to step in for the injured Jonathan Quick. Andrei Vasilevskiy is who the Tampa Bay Lighting are putting their trust in now. They believe he has the talents to be the number one goalie and they are going to ride him.
If Vasilevskiy doesn’t perform under the pressure next year they might be tempted to shop Price as they have the team to win the Stanley Cup. The problem that Steve Yzerman will run into is managing his salary cap. His high-powered offense isn’t cheap and he is going to be forced to pay those players or let them explore the market. Squeezing Price into the mix could make that challenge that much more difficult.
1 Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks have a surplus of average goaltending that includes John Gibson, Jhonas Enroth and Jonathan Bernier. The good news is that they are all very cheap to have, but they bad news is you have bad goaltending. The Ducks could take on Price’s potential contract and flip a coin to keep one of the their current goalies.
Price would look extremely strange in the Ducks colors and jersey, but could make them a powerhouse team in the highly competitive West Conference. By the time Price could become a Duck, the leaders of the Ducks, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf would both be 32 years old. That’s a solid age to have leadership abilities and still be physically able to play in the NHL. Price as a Duck could bring the Ducks another Stanley Cup.