Carey Price for Corey Crawford, John Hayden and a 2019 second-round pick
Let me finish! But seriously, I know how many issues come into this one and how this can easily be thrown to the side as nonsense, but let’s just talk it out.
First off, Crawford is two years older than Price, which is something the Canadiens would not be looking at as a positive in this deal. Second, Price is a former Vezina and Hart Trophy winner and usually mentioned as the best goalie in the game.
However, maybe the Canadiens are feeling a bit of buyer’s remorse on Price. After a season in which the team had the fourth-worst record in the NHL, the Canadiens could see their current roster and realize it needs to have a bit of a rebuild. This trade gives them a more-than-competent replacement goaltender for Price, while also giving them a young prospect with NHL experience in Hayden and a second-round pick in 2019 to continue restocking youth.
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Yes, there are injury concerns for Crawford, but there are also some for Price. Price was only able to appear in 49 games last season with the Canadiens, just two years removed from only seeing 12 games in 2015-16. When he was in for those 49 games last season, Price had a pedestrian .900 save percentage and 3.11 goals-against average.
While Crawford only saw 28 games last season, he still had a .929 save percentage and 2.27 goals-against average. He has had on-again off-again injuries over the years, but 2017-18 was the first time since 2010-11 (when he became the ‘Hawks’ starting goaltender) that Crawford did not start in more than half of the team’s regular-season games. If the Canadiens’ doctors and staff feel comfortable with the internal word on Crawford, they may not worry about last season’s injury woes.
While Crawford is two years older than Price, it gives the Canadiens a competitive goaltender in the interim on an affordable deal. Crawford is signed for just two more years with a $6 million AAV. This would be a significant discount from Price’s new $10.5 million AAV deal that kicks in at the start of next season and lasts eight more years.
Why it won’t happen: First off, if the Canadiens are going to trade away Price, they would likely want a younger goaltender in return, not an older one. While Crawford is only two years older and tied down for just two more seasons, he probably wouldn’t have a terribly long future in Montreal, and the concussion (or whatever his current injury is) has to be a red flag for the Canadiens.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks, once again, are probably not looking to tie themselves into another mega-deal with Toews and Kane still rostered for the next five seasons. Much like I talked about earlier with Karlsson, the ‘Hawks have to trade away a younger prospect, a higher draft pick and are taking a big hit to the salary cap that they will have to work around for years to come.