Even though his season ended with injury and disappointment, Carey Price
experienced a noteworthy 2013-14 campaign. Not only did he backstop
Canada’s Olympic team to Gold in Sochi, his stellar play was a huge reason why the Montreal
Canadiens advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals (where his absence was the
biggest reason for the eventual series loss). Even so, don’t expect Price to
rest on what he has accomplished; his competitive nature and drive for
excellence can assure Montreal fans that Price will always look to improve.
At a point where he’s considered among the league’s elite, will Carey Price meet these
expectations or fall short of the mark?
Despite missing eight games with an injury following the Sochi Winter Olympics,
Carey had a year to remember. He won the aforementioned Olympic Gold
medal, was named the tournament’s best goaltender by the tournament directorate
(though curiously not by the media) and finished 4th in Vezina Trophy voting.
His 34 wins was good for 6th in the NHL, while his six shutouts tied him with
Jonathan Quick for 2nd in the league, trailing Tuukka Rask by only one. His GAA
and SV% improved significantly from the previous year (posting a ridiculous 0.59
GAA and .972 in Sochi) and Carey was a perfect 5-for-5 in elimination games in
Olympic and NHL competition combined; Price allowed two goals over those five games.
If not for a reckless play from Chris Kreider in the first game of the Eastern
Conference Finals, many had pencilled Price in as a Conn Smythe candidate had
the Canadiens reached the Stanley Cup Finals.
Season Stats: 34W-20L-5OTL, 2.32 GAA, .927 SV%, 6 SO
5 Year Averages
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are pro-rating all of 2012-13’s
numbers over a typical 82-game year.)
As the undisputed #1 goaltender for the Canadiens, the only way Price sees
less games than usual is if: a) he gets injured, or b) the back-up goalie
situation changes. In past years, with Peter Budaj as the back-up, Price
has played the vast majority of games as both goalies were suited to this
arrangement. However, if Dustin Tokarski (who surpassed Budaj on the depth
chart last playoffs) remains in the NHL, he may end up stealing a few more
starts throughout the year. Additionally, there remains the possibility
that the Habs may carry three goaltenders, and although Price will still command the
majority of starts, his share of games will decline.
With his skill-set and a strong team in front of him, Price should remain
among the league leaders in wins. It remains to be seen how the change up
on defence will impact Price’s games, but faithful Josh Gorges fans will argue
that Price will see more shots on goal with Gorges’ departure.
Nevertheless, Price’s game improved greatly last season with the acquisition of
goaltending coach, Stephane Waite, and Price is just entering his prime years;
look for slight improvements in the GAA and SV% categories.