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Don’t trade Carey Price

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Carey Price reminded everyone why he is considered one of the best on Monday night. The Canadiens shouldn’t be shopping him just yet.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Carey Price didn’t exactly steal a game for the Montreal Canadiens last night, but with 31 saves, he definitely had his say in shutting down the streaking Calgary Flames.

This type of game is one the Tricolore have typically lost this season.

The Habs deserved to win this game. They held a convincing advantage in shot attempts, shots on goal, and scoring chances. As usual, they struggled to convert on their chances, but you only need one when your goaltender pitches a no-hitter. Price made sure that their two goals were more than enough.

He didn’t have to make any wild, desperation saves on the night, but he was calm, well positioned, controlled his rebounds, and the end result was the classic Price shutout where you’re not at all surprised that he did it. He was phenomenal in an unspectacular way — which is the Carey Price we’ve come to know and love — making hard saves look easy through his technique.

There has been a lot of chatter recently about the idea of trading Price. Michel Bergeron recently discussed doing that, as well as moving Shea Weber. I’m not personally in favour of either idea, but I take particular beef with that of moving Price.

You’d be selling low on Price right now. You’d be selling at a point where other teams will think they can get him, while paying what will almost invariably be insufficient. Some, if not all, will ask for some salary to be retained. The Franchise is better off to let him go in the expansion draft than they are to eat salary for the duration of his contract while he plays somewhere else. Paying for a player you can’t use is almost always bad business.

And while Price’s AAV is noteworthy to potential trade partners, is it negatively impacting the Canadiens? Cap space isn’t an issue, and asking Cayden Primeau to take over the team right away seems a bit much. Why rush to move on from a contract that really isn’t handicapping the team right now?

It comes with the territory of a $10.5 million AAV contract that you’ll face criticism and trade talk when your team struggles, and the Habs have gone beyond struggling. It isn’t surprising that people are talking about it, but I think it’s too premature to move Price. If you really want out of that contract, you can wait until next year, re-evaluate where the team is at, how he fits within the rebuild, and make a decision then when hopefully his value will be better than it projects to be right now.

There’s always the expansion draft too, so if you really want out of the contract, exposing him to Seattle will probably get you that. Of course, it gets you no assets in return, but I’d argue that it’s better than retaining salary for the duration of his contract.

In the end, Price still has elite talent, so I think he should get the chance to see it through as long as possible in Montreal.