The Kraken Made A Mistake Passing On Price
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The spotlight will be on the city of Seattle as the NHL's 32nd team will be hosting their expansion draft. While there will be some interesting names that will be available for the Kraken to pick, the biggest name up for grabs was Habs goalie Carey Price. We know now that Seattle opted to take Dman Cale Fleury, so obviously Marc Bergevin's gamble was well warranted. However, the Kraken missed their chance to come into the league with a bang.
I'm sure there were definitely some factors going against Price being selected by Seattle. For one, he has a hefty contract that currently has 5 years remaining, with an annual cap hit of over 10 million. The cap will be set around 81.5 million, so picking Price will take up a huge portion of their cap. Even though he is still one of the league's best, that’s quite a hit to take right out of the gate.
Also, health may have been a major concern as well. The Vancouver native recently visited a specialist regarding a possible knee injury, which could mean lengthy recovering stint for the 33 year old. Price also missed 13 games with a concussion this season, and the dreaded "lower body injury" has been a staple in his injury report over the last few seasons.
Despite all that, I feel like this was a layup for the league's newest franchise.
One could say that Price's best years are behind him, however all you have to do is look to the last expansion draft for a very similar situation. When Vegas selected Marc-Andre Fleury most thought the former 1st over pick was done, but here we are four seasons later and the Flower is fresh off of a Vezina winning season. Was it likely for Price to replicate that feat? No. But new scenery could've given the future HHOFer new life.
Hell, just look at what he was able to do this season. Looking past the injuries, what he was able to do during these playoffs should've given the Kraken confidence that Price still has a lot left in the tank. Montreal was supposed to be in a rebuilding phase, however he put the team on his back and carried them to a cup finals. Price's impact on the ice and in the locker room is unmatched, that I don't think can be questioned.
Doubling back to Vegas. How important was it for them to take a familiar name in Fleury? You need that centrepiece as a new franchise, not just from a performance standpoint, but also from a marketing one as well. Fleury has been inside the top 10 in jersey sales for the past three seasons. That name recognition from a star player is so important for a team searching for an identity, and they're going to miss out on that.
It should be pointed out that Seattle picked up goaltender Chris Driedger, so maybe that played into their decision to not take the vet. But if the leaks are true to their word, the Kraken are also rolling with Vanecek from the Caps and Daccord from the Sens. That crew wouldn't make me all that confident going forward.
Seattle’s ownership gave Ron Francis the green light to pursue Carey Price. Admittedly, it would've have been a big risk for Seattle if they decided to pull the trigger, but sometimes you gotta risk it to get the biscuit. Regardless, the whole hockey world is officially on tilt in what was a glorious day for Seattle hockey. Montreal should be breathing a big sigh of relief.