Carey Price had a year for the ages in 2014-15, winning several major awards and setting team records along the way. Asking him to duplicate that would be too much pressure but what should the Habs expect for an encore in 2015-16?
Price was not only the Habs’ obvious MVP last season but also the league MVP (in the eyes of both the media and the players). He led the NHL in many categories including wins, goals against average, and save percentage (all first) while finishing second in shutouts. Needless to say, those were also career bests for the 27 year old as well who had set quite a few career highs the year before as well.
To put this into a bit of a different perspective, consider that he played 517 more minutes last year than he did in 2013-14. Despite all the extra playing time, he allowed four fewer goals than the season before (one that he was still in the top echelon of starting goalies around the league).
His numbers dropped a bit in the postseason but that was realistically to be expected after the year he had. However, he still posted his best numbers over the last three playoffs and did so while battling some sort of injury concern as noted by goalie coach Stephane Waite last month.
Season Stats: 66 GP, 44-16-6 record, 1.96 GAA, .933 SV%, 9 shutouts
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are pro-rating all of 2012-13’s numbers over a typical 82-game year.)
OT/SO Losses: 7
This one is obvious but it wouldn’t make for good reading if I just said ‘number one goalie’. It also wouldn’t entirely be an apt description given what he means to the team. Last year, Price was counted on to steal a lot of games. Despite a few small upgrades, Price will once again have to shoulder a heavy workload, especially with a mediocre at best backup in Dustin Tokarski. Suffice it to say, Price’s role this coming season will once again be the workhorse thoroughbred that will have a huge impact on whether the team wins or loses on a night-to-night basis.
After a record breaking season like he had, it’s not crazy to expect that his numbers are going to fall somewhat. Fortunately for Price, a decline in his performance from last season would still probably put him amongst the best goalies in the league next year which is where preseason expectations should be.
Because Tokarski isn’t going to be filling the coaching staff full of confidence, Price should once again see the lion’s share of the workload to the point where many will be thinking he’s once again being overused. Assuming he stays healthy, Price should once again be near the top of the leaderboard in games/minutes played, wins, and shutouts at the very least. I don’t see him eclipsing his new franchise record for wins, however.
There’s no doubt that Price should be the first goalie off the board in any fantasy league. Of course, in some leagues, goalies aren’t as important as others. For leagues where goalie categories/stats represent a sizable percentage of possible points, he’s definitely worthy of a first round pick. In leagues where goalie points aren’t as different, you can afford to wait a round or two.
OT/SO Losses: 6