Carey Price’s 2015-16 season was marred by injury, and due to it a major reason for the team’s collapse. Will a healthy Price return to his previous MVP level to help lead the team back to the postseason?
Price was off to an excellent start with a 7-2 record at the beginning of the season. Unfortunately he underwent an unknown lower body injury before a game in Edmonton. Later it was revealed to be the same knee injury he suffered against the New York Rangers in the 2013-14 playoffs. After a one month layoff, he returned to the lineup, and helped the team to three consecutive wins. Unfortunately he re-aggravated the same injury at some point in the 3rd game, and left after two periods. He would continue to rest then rehab, but setbacks would haunt Price, and he did not get back into another game for the reset of the season.
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are prorating all of 2012-13’s numbers over a typical 82-game year. For simplicity’s sake, Price’s stats for 2015-16 were omitted, but those for 2010-11 were included.)
OT/SO Losses: 7
Obviously, Price will be the uncontested #1 goalie for the upcoming season. What should be different this time, is that he will be backed up by an experienced netminder in Al Montoya. This should give the team insurance in case Price becomes injured again.
It remains to be seen how well Montoya will play in the backup role, but it’s his job to lose. I expect he will be given between 20 and 25 starts this season assuming he plays at his usual competent level and the team has acknowledged they plan to scale back Price’s workload this season. That will leave Price around 60 games to start, give or take; that number should be a comfortable level for him.
Very few goaltenders in the history of the NHL have managed to win both the Hart and Vezina trophies in the same season. Only three have accomplished this amazing feat, Jose Theodore, Jacques Plante and Dominik Hasek (who managed it twice in successive seasons!) . It’s difficult to believe he can repeat this exact same scenario for the upcoming season, although he should at least be one of the top Vezina candidates.
As far as fantasy drafts are concerned, Carey Price will likely be at the top of most participants lists for goalies, and well, he should be. Overall his statistical numbers may slip a bit from his epic 2014-15 season, but he’ll still remain a top three leader in most categories.
OT/SO Losses: 3