NHL Rumor Mill – April 4, 2022
In today’s NHL Rumor Mill, more trade chatter about Canadiens goalie Carey Price plus more speculation about Bruce Boudreau’s future as coach of the Canucks.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico wondered if the Canadiens would trade Carey Price if the 34-year-old goaltender returned to play this season and proved healthy enough to continue his career. He cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman making that speculation during a recent “32 Thoughts” podcast, suggesting there’s a chance Price could be playing elsewhere next season.
D’Amico observed Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes saying Price’s return this season depends on his health. The veteran netminder remains sidelined recovering from knee surgery last July. During a January press conference, Price was adamant about remaining with the Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have 13 games remaining in their schedule, with their final game on April 29. That doesn’t leave much time for Price to return to game shape and be in suitable condition to play a few games before the end of this season. If he hasn’t returned to full practice with his teammates by mid-month, he probably won’t be getting in any games before the end of this month.
D’Amico noted Price waived his no-movement clause during last summer’s Seattle Expansion Draft. He did so in order for the Canadiens to protect Jake Allen in last summer’s expansion draft. He and then-Habs general manager Marc Bergevin correctly assumed the Kraken didn’t want to be saddled with his $10.5 million annual average value through 2025-26.
Price could waive his NMC for the right club this summer but moving him won’t be easy. It’s unlikely a potential suitor would agree to take on his full cap hit unless the Canadiens took back a toxic contract or two to balance it out.
The more likely scenario would see the Canadiens retaining 50 percent of his cap hit to facilitate a trade. Even a three-team deal spreading the cap hit around would still involve the Habs retaining half of his salary given that’s been the benchmark for similar recent deals.
THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma believes Vancouver Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau’s ability to get the most out of veterans such as J.T. Miller and youngster stars like Elias Pettersson “should be applauded and rewarded”. The Canucks have an option year on Boudreau’s contract but he also has the option to walk away.
Kuzma pointed out that Miller has come to appreciate Boudreau. If the Canucks intend on extending Miller’s contract, it would make sense to keep their head coach in the fold.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller is enjoying a career-best 82-point performance this season. He might be more inclined to remain a Canuck beyond 2022-23 if Boudreau stays on as their bench boss.