Everyone knows that Carey Price plays beautifully when he is on his game. However, the Canadiens can be awful without him too. Price is the cornerstone of the franchise and his $10.5 million contract has begun. The Habs, however, are starting a rebuild. Aren’t they?
The organization has been saying all along that they want to make the playoffs, but also build for the future through the draft. I’m not sure how that will work, but they do have pieces that suggest they are not in a full rebuild. Shea Weber and Carey Price are two of those pieces.
For the last few seasons, the Canadiens have drafted well and set themselves up to be in a good position to rebuild the team. At the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Montreal loaded up with centers and hopefully addressed that need, but we won’t know how that turns out for another two to three years at the very least.
The Canadiens roster will be young this season that looks to be rebuilding, but with one of the best goalies in the world, we have seen that Price can win games all on his own.
Last season Price’s numbers were the lowest of his career with a 3.11 goals against average and a .900 save percentage. These numbers resulted from playing behind one of the worst defensive team’s in the NHL, poor coaching and injuries. Price’s play also dipped as the atmosphere around the team created by management was toxic last season.
On paper, the Canadiens have lost a great deal of their offence with the trading of Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty. The pair are skilled offensive players, something the Habs could be lacking in this year. This means for the Habs to win, Price may need to keep the opposing team to two goals or less.
Every move the Canadiens made in the off-season could be interpreted as being for the future. Jesperi Kotkaniemi has had a great camp but is a year or two away from playing full-time in the NHL. Max Domi, Nick Suzuki and Thomas Tatar are the other new additions.
Montreal didn’t sign any big names to improve the team. They didn’t bring anyone in to fix their horrible defense from last season. And they didn’t add any more offense.
Why didn’t the Habs spend the money to improve the areas they need to?
Some higher profile free agents flat out refused to come to Montreal. Another reason could be that management thinks the team they have is good enough for now, or at least until their young players are ready.
But the biggest reason may be that, with a goaltender like Carey Price, the general manager feels that he doesn’t have to go through a long rebuilding process.
Price says he is focused and ready for a bounce-back year. He is prepared. If he gets any support at all, offensively and defensively, the Habs may not be finishing near the bottom of the standings again.
Edited by Cate Racher, All Habs Hockey Magazine