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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 43 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
Last season, the discussion surrounding the goaltending was the question of how Carey Price would handle being the undisputed number one goalie. We all know how that one turned out. So far this offseason, the main question has been whether Price played too much and if he needs to see his games played total scaled back.
Our writers also have been pondering this as they were asked the following:
In a perfect world (both goalies are healthy for every game), how many starts should Peter Budaj get?
Below are the responses.
Matt Dilworth: I was ecstatic last year when Carey Price’s record 72 games helped me win a few more categories for my fantasy hockey team. As a Habs’ fan…not so much; that many games is a lot even for someone as young as Price. Although Carey has demonstrated that he likes to be the undisputed number one goalie, and seems to relish the extra work, the acquisition of Budaj should permit him to get more rest. Moreover, I fully expect Budaj to face more serious competition than Alex Auld faced last season, making Price’s workload more manageable. Barring injuries, I think we will see Budaj start 15-20 games this year.
George Kouniakis: I personally don't love it when goalies play 70+ games because I do think it wears them out to some extent. Having said that, Carey proved last year that he is capable of such a heavy workload. I would be extremely comfortable with Price starting 60-65 games, with Budaj playing the remaining 22-17. But if Budaj struggles, then let Carey play them all, if he's willing!
Brian La Rose: Ideally, I'd like to see Budaj get around 25 appearances in the upcoming season. Of those, three to five would be relief appearances giving him somewhere between 20-22 starts. Not only would that keep him in game shape but Budaj seeing action give or take once a week on average should prevent Price from tiring out as the year wears on. The capologist in me is also obligated to suggest that a lighter workload might help bring Price's new contract down a little bit. Playing the most games carries more clout in contract talks than simply playing around the same number of games as a typical high-end starter. I certainly wouldn't divvy out the games based on that alone, just that resting him may have an additional benefit this coming campaign.
Louis Moustakas: 25. Carey Price had far too heavy of a workload last year and, perhaps more saliently, was seldom afforded rest against quality opponents. In fact, Alex Auld started against a playoff-bound team only once last season. Price was all too often pitted against quality opponents and was certainly not thrown any 'gimmees.' It could only be beneficial for the young starter to get some more rest and be given a few easier games.
Mandy P.: If Budaj plays well, he should get about 20 starts. That would give Price a good break, as I think he was a tad overplayed last season.
Michael Richard: I'm of two minds when it comes to the workload a starting goalie should handle. On the one hand you don't want to overwork your star netminder, risking injury while also limiting the chance for your backup to stay in game shape. On the other hand, when you have a top-class goaltender like the Habs do with Price, you should ride him to as many points as possible. It should also be noted that Martin Brodeur is no stranger to playing 70+ games a season and even won two cups while doing so. So I would like to see Price play another 70 games next season which would leave 12 for the new backup, Peter Budaj.
Norman Szcyrek: A healthy rest schedule for most starting NHL goalies not named Brodeur would mean a backup would get a reasonable amount of work around 25 games or so. However, unless Budaj gets more starts in the first half of the season then Price will get the lions share as the Habs fight for playoff positioning.
- Much ado about Kostitsyn posted by B. La Rose