August 18, 2022
Once the trade that brought center Sean Monahan to the Montreal Canadiens from the Calgary Flames was announced yesterday, all eyes turned towards the all-star goaltender Carey Price, and the injury situation that has plagued his role with the team of late. Price missed all but 5 games last season, as injuries to his knees and hip added up.
Hughes spoke to the media yesterday following the trade, where he also fielded questions about the status of his net minder. Hughes said that news on Price’s injured knee is “discouraging.”
“At this point in time, the news in terms of Carey’s knee is pretty discouraging in the sense that there hasn’t been any improvement through the rehab process all last season.,” stated Hughes. “Obviously, it continued to create problems for him. This summer, he went through the process of a shot to the knee, seeing if that would help. It did not, and at this point, we don’t expect Carey to be available for the start of the season.”
“Quite frankly, I don’t know that there’s a path for Carey to return this season through the rehab process,” Hughes went on to say, which leads to the strong probability that Carey Price will once again miss most – if not all of the upcoming campaign.
Price originally underwent surgery in July 2021, to repair a torn meniscus and was scheduled to miss three months as he recovered. But a series of setbacks have continued to keep him away from the game. Rehabilitation on the knee hasn’t gone to plan and it now seems likely that further surgery is required.
With Price headed to long-term injury reserve (LTIR), the Canadiens are under the salary cap, even with the salary of Monahan. Furthermore, they now have the flexibility to afford a contract to center Kirby Dach, who was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks at the NHL draft. Goaltender Cayden Primeau is also without a contract.
Price has four seasons remaining on his eight-year, $84-million contract signed in 2017. The goaltender commands a $10.5-million annual average value.
Should Monahan pan out and return to form this season, something never guaranteed after such serious surgeries, Hughes will have options going into the NHL trade deadline. Monahan is in the final year of his current contract and draw interest from other teams for a play-off push – something the Canadiens will likely miss out on again this season – especially without the services of Price.
Or perhaps Monahan fits the vision Hughes has for the new-look Montreal Canadiens – and earns a fresh contract with the Habs. Forwards Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron are also both on expiring contracts, as in goaltender Jake Allen, and all three could find themselves in similar situations at the trade deadline. Last year, Hughes was quite active, shipping out players for picks and prospects and the smart bet would be that he makes similar moves this year as well.
Time will tell.