Carey Price to return from NHL/NHLPA player assistance program Monday

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Carey Price will return to the Canadiens on Monday after spending the last month in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.

Price voluntarily entered the program on October 7 and had to spend a minimum of 30 days away from the team.

He was initially sidelined throughout training camp after undergoing knee surgery during the offseason. He was also left unprotected in the expansion draft but was not selected by the Seattle Kraken.

While Price will be back with the Habs, there is no timetable for when he’ll play again. He’s yet to play this season and will need time to get his conditioning up to speed, which could mean a stint with AHL Laval.

“He’s coming off a surgery, so we’ve got to see where he’s at with that,” said Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme. “And then from there I think it’s gym, then on the ice by himself, then with the goalie coach, with shooters, with the team. So there’s a buildup for sure, and the timeline, it’s tough to go deep and really have a plan.”

The Canadiens are off to a 3-9-0 start with Jake Allen handling most of the workload (10 starts) with Sam Montembeault (3). Montreal’s early season issues are more to do with their struggling offense than a goaltending duo that’s been okay. They have the fifth-worst 5-on-5 goals scored (15) and and third-worst expected goals for percentage (40.5%), per Natural Stat Trick.

Montreal is already without Shea Weber, who may never play again, and dealing with slow starts to the season for a number of players. Getting Price back at some point soon should be a boost to the rest of the team.

“We’re going to take a look at everything we can do to get him ready to play,” Ducharme said.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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