Hey at least I’m consistent man. I’ve been saying since the very beginnings of the Top Shelf revolution that Carey ‘Man in Black’ Price is one unproven commodity and I’m sticking to my guns this morning.
No I’m not suggesting we trade him to St. Louis to get Jaroslav ‘Hero’ Halak back (eds. note: Why not? Good idea!). All I’m saying is that Pricey ain’t won nothing in the National Hockey League. And since he ain’t done nothing yet, he does NOT deserve to be the third highest-paid netminder in the Big Leagues.
On Monday, Marc ‘We Still Like Him’ Bergevin signed Price to a six-year deal at $6.5 million per season. As Pat Hickey notes in his piece in the Gazette Tuesday, there are only two goalies with higher cap hits than Price. They are Pekka Rinne in Nashville who is the top earner with a pay cheque of $7 million per year, followed closely by New York Rangers whiz kid Henrik Lundqvist with a salary of $6.875 million.
Does Price deserve the same kind of money as these guys? Not by any stretch of the imagination. The problem is that, as Jack Todd calls ‘em, “his cheerleaders in the press box” have been telling us for years that Price is the next Patrick Roy but there’s absolutely no proof of that up until now. He’s a good goalie, most of the time, but that’s it.
Let’s do a little comparison shopping. Finnish phenom Renne led the league last year in wins, shots against, games played, and saves, and was one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy for best goalie. That by the way was the second straight year he was on the short list for the Vezina.
Lundqvist won the Vezina this past season – i.e. he’s the best goalie in the league – and had a goals-against-average of 1.97 and a save-percentage of .930. He was also simply stunning in the playoffs.
Price? Ummm first-off he wasn’t in the playoffs. Price had a losing record last season, with 26 wins and 28 losses, and a mediocre GAA of 2.43 and a less-than-stellar save-percentage of .916.
Now you are going to say he was playing for a cruddy team. And you’re right. But still. He didn’t steal any games for the Hab-nots. He didn’t do anything to deserve $6.5 million.
Then there’s the fact that he’s never taken the Habs anywhere in the post-season. In four playoffs with the Canadiens, he’s only won 8 out of 26 games. That’s terrible. And I’m not even going to give you his playoff GAA and save-percentage stats cos they stink.
The only post-season success the Habs have had in recent memory is the spring of 2010 when that unlikely team made it to the conference final – but the fellow between the pipes that playoff was a chap named Halak while Mr. Price was warming the bench.
It’s too much money and too many years for a guy who hasn’t proven anything yet in the Big Boys League. That’s all I’m saying. I’m not saying Price will never become a great goalie. He might. But he isn’t a great goalie right here right now.