Carey Price signed an eight-year contract extension Sunday, likely keeping the franchise goaltender with the Canadiens for the rest of his career.
General manager Marc Bergevin announced the deal on the second day Price was eligible to be extended. Price’s new contract begins in 2018-19 and runs through 2025-26.
“I never thought about playing anywhere else,” Price said on a conference call. “I never thought about putting on another uniform. I just thought it’d be too weird, I guess.”
Imagining Price in any uniform that’s not the Canadiens or Team Canada would be difficult given his dominant play over the past several years.
So naturally getting him locked up was a top priority for Montreal.
Price won the Hart Trophy as MVP and Vezina Trophy as the top goaltender in 2014-15 when he led the NHL with a 1.96 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.
“Nobody has a goaltender like Carey Price,” Bergevin said at a news conference in Montreal. “There’s a saying we use: ‘Goalies are not important until you don’t have one.’ … It’s a position that’s hard to find, and we have, if my opinion, one of the best in the business, if not the best.”
Price, who turns 30 in August, is 270-175-55 with a 2.40 GAA and .920 save percentage in 509 games over 10 NHL seasons. He bounced back from a knee injury that cost him most of 2015-16 to start 62 games last season, finishing third in Vezina voting.
Asked about the contract making him among the highest-paid players in the league, Price said, “Our camp felt that that’s where we should be.”
The deal is reportedly worth $84 million, and that salary-cap hit of $10.5 million would tie him with Blackhawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane for the biggest in the NHL until Connor McDavid’s new contract with the Oilers is signed.
Bergevin said in an ideal world the Canadiens would have signed Price to a shorter deal, but understood they had to go to eight years.
The Anahim Lake, British Columbia, native said he never considered finishing his career in the west and that he was ecstatic to sign long term.
“I have enough experience to deal with anything that being a goaltender for the Canadiens can throw at me,” Price said from his home in Kelowna, British Columbia.
“It’s hard at times, but other times it’s the most fun you’re going to have I think in the entire NHL is playing well in Montreal. There’s nothing that compares to it.”
Marleau to Toronto
Patrick Marleau has left the Sharks to sign an $18.75 million, three-year deal with the Maple Leafs.
Marleau will count $6.25 million against the salary cap through the 2019-20 season. General manager Lou Lamoriello announced the signing.
Marleau, 37, spent his first 17 seasons with the Sharks.
Marleau, the second overall pick in 1997, has 508 goals and 574 assists for 1,082 points in 1,493 NHL games. He had 46 points (27 goals) in playing all 82 games last season.
The Capitals re-signed center Evgeny Kuznetsov to a $62.4 million, eight-year deal.
Kuznetsov will count $7.8 million against the salary cap through the 2024-25 season.
The Russian, 25, who was a restricted free agent, is now the second-highest paid player for Washington behind captain Alex Ovechkin.
Kuznetsov had 19 goals and 40 assists for 59 points last season.
... The Golden Knights have landed Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger, after all.
Two weeks after not selecting Kruger in the NHL expansion draft, Vegas gave up undisclosed future considerations to acquire the two-time Stanley Cup-winner in a trade.
Used primarily as a checking-line forward, Kruger had five goals and 12 assists for 17 points in 70 games last season. Overall, he has 33 goals and 72 assists for 105 points in 398 games over seven seasons.
Kruger’s departure frees up much-needed salary cap space for the Blackhawks a season after signing him to a three-year $9.25 million contract.
... For the first time in more than eight years, Chris Kunitz woke up and was no longer a member of the Penguins.
“I guess it’s kind of still surreal that we’re leaving and going somewhere else,” Kunitz told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Kunitz is now a member of the Lightning after he signed a one-year deal with them Saturday that’s worth $2 million, plus another $1 million that’s available through incentives.
... Jaromir Jagr and Jarome Iginla are available, while 40-year-olds Shane Doan and Matt Cullen are deciding whether to play another year.
The Panthers already said they’re not bringing Jagr back.
Ron Hextall ruled out a Philadelphia reunion for the 45-year-old.
“That’s just not the direction we’re headed in right now,” Hextall said.
“I’ve got a great deal of respect for his accomplishments and everything he’s done.”