On Saturday, Carey Price‘s season came to an abrupt end with a Game 6 loss to the Rangers.
On Monday, Price’s offseason got underway.
During his end-of-year media availability, Montreal’s prized netminder was faced with questions about his contract status, foreshadowing what Price will likely be dealing with until pen is put to paper.
Here’s an excerpt of part of the exchange, from Hockey 360:
Q: What are your expectations about your contract situation?
Price: I don’t have any worries about it. I’m sure it’ll all take care of itself.
Q: Would you be open to talk about an extension for July 1?
Price: Yeah, of course. I love playing here. I’m sure we’ll figure something out.
Price, who turns 30 this August, is heading into the last of a six-year, $39 million deal with a $6.5M average annual cap hit. As mentioned, he’s eligible to sign an extension on the first of July, and there’s already been speculation as to what that deal would look like.
Armed with leverage at negotiating table — the 2015 Hart Trophy, nominated for the Vezina in two of the last three years — it’s feasible Price could command similar money to Henrik Lundqvist, currently the NHL’s highest-paid netminder (a seven-year, $59.5 million deal with an $8.5M cap hit).
But there are factors to consider.
The first, of course, is that Habs GM Marc Bergevin has other significant spending to do this summer. Alex Radulov, who finished second on the team in scoring during the regular season and led the Habs in the playoffs, is an unrestricted free agent. Per reports, he’s looking to cash in.
Alex Galchenyuk, the former 30-goal scorer and at one point the club’s No. 1 center of the future, is a pending RFA. That negotiation alone will be fascinating.
Price was asked about his negotiations, and how they might reflect the club’s need to be cost-effective in order to remain competitive. He dodged it artfully — “that’s a tough question to be asking me right now,” he said — but later acknowledged he understood the business side of things, and that the club is currently in its Stanley Cup window.
“I want to stay here,” he explained. “[I want to] figure out a way to make all the pieces fit, and bring a championship here.”