The Montreal Canadiens, who are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, are expected to be sellers before the March 21 trade deadline. While pending free agents like Ben Chiarot are likely to be trade candidates, some observers wonder if Carey Price could also be bought.
Price, 34, is still recovering from offseason knee surgery. He also spent the first month of the season in the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program.
Eric Engels of Sportsnet was asked In a recent pouch clip, about the possibility of moving prices before the deadline. He doesn’t think that’s going to happen unless the former Wizina champion returns in the next few weeks and returns to the form that brought the underdog Canadian to last year’s Stanley Cup final.
Assuming Price doesn’t want to stay if the Canadiens rebuild, Engels lists his massive contract ($10.5 million per year through 2025-26) and a full no-relocation clause as a major trade hurdle. He also suggested that if playoff contenders like the Colorado Avalanche or the Edmonton Oilers come, the Habs may have to keep as much as 50 percent of their salary cap.
It’s these factors that make moving the price before the trade deadline a long shot at best. Even if he returns in the next few weeks and does well, sending him by the deadline may be overly complicated.
Another club could be brought in as a third-party agent, with the Canadiens retaining half of Price’s salary cap and the other two clubs splitting the remaining half. In this case, however, there are too many moving parts that may have to be done in the offseason to ensure that each club involved in the deal has enough tradable assets to make it work.