After braving the challenge of easing the loss of playoff hero Jaroslav Halak, Carey Price now must justify his massive six-year, $39 million contract. That’s a lot for any goalie in any town to stomach, but Price will face even more heat since he’s the No. 1 goalie for the Montreal Canadiens. So he can he handle that pressure?
There are pros and cons to Price’s situation that make it a fascinating question.
On the bright side, Price finished 2011-12 strong. After a dicey first three months, Price had fabulous individual numbers once 2012 began. He’ll likely benefit from a stable franchise environment after last season’s fractured behind-the-scenes mess. It’s also helpful to have a defensive taskmaster like Michel Therrien behind the bench considering the fact that his best moments came when Jacques Martin was in charge – and not on the verge of being fired.
The bad news is that while the suits were altered drastically this summer, the guys wearing the Habs sweaters are largely the same. If last season was the simple result of a weak roster and not a fluke/manifestation of deep organizational dysfunction, it could be another long season for the few “elites” on the team. Price will carry the heaviest load of them all if that’s the case.
Price went fifth overall in 2005 and did usurp Halak in the former front office’s minds, so it’s not like he hasn’t shouldered a heavy burden before. Still, he might need to evoke Patrick Roy – as many locals seemingly hope any top goalie will – to brave the 2012-13 season and give the Habs a chance to be a surprise contender.