January 25, 2010 11:31 AM | Posted by Elliotte Friedman
Last week, one of my 30 thoughts concerned the Montreal goaltending battle. I asked a scout about Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price. He said that if Halak was made available, 10 teams would be interested. If Price was made available, everyone makes a pitch.
Halak’s agent, Allan Walsh, questioned that. So, minutes after Price gave up an ugly OT winner to Andy McDonald last Wednesday night (a game I attended), I asked another scout for his take. After thinking about it for a few seconds, he grimaced and said, “I’d take Price.”
And that is why it’s time for the Montreal Canadiens to trade him.
I can understand Bob Gainey’s reluctance. You can see Price’s potential. He’s still only 22. Somewhere in there is the goalie who stoned the U.S. in that famous world junior shootout, then won the Calder Cup in his first two months as a professional.
Also, Price has the size advantage over Halak, and the trend in net now is go big or go home. Look at Marty Turco. He still has incredible passion and desire to play. But, the biggest criticism is that he’s too small. Next year, equipment is to be regulated by the size of the goalie. That’s not good for him.
Gainey could be sending a franchise goalie somewhere else. There’s no worse feeling for a GM.
Still, there is one major thing in Halak’s favour: right now, he is better than Price and gives Montreal more of a chance to win. That should be reason number one. But there are some other considerations, too.
No matter what everyone says about these two guys making the best of it, it’s a bad situation. They both want to be number one, and, what’s worse, each believes they should be number one. When you have a young goaltender feeling his way through his first starting job, he needs an experienced backup (who understands their role) to help with the bad times. These guys don’t have that, and other guys who know a heckuva lot more than me think it has hurt Price’s development.
Price would get full value
Also, Gainey was uncharacteristically outgoing about offering Halak to Philadelphia. There were also discussions with Dallas. Who knows how many others were approached. The fact Halak is still in les bleus-blanc-et-rouge tells us the Canadiens are not being offered enough. Do you think they get lowballed for Price? No way.
Gainey could hold a silent auction. Maybe someone has to take another salary with him. Maybe he gets two or three players or picks. At least, there are some nice options.
Both goalies are restricted free agents after this season, and it’s really hard to determine either man’s value. This allows Montreal to really understand what it has in Halak. Is he a legit number one? He looks like he could be, but nothing answers the question better than starting 25 games in a run for the playoffs.
Most importantly, the organization has to face the possibility that Price simply will not develop here. Look at highlights from three years ago and compare them to now. He simply isn’t the same confident guy. He’s on his second goalie coach, and needs a fresh start.
It would be good for him. It’s a risk, but the return would also be good for Montreal.