The Seattle Kraken will not select Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price at tonight’s expansion draft, according to several reports including Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet. Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff tweets that the Canadiens are likely to lose young defenseman Cale Fleury.
Price, 33, waived his no-movement clause and was left unprotected by the Canadiens in order for the team to retain backup Jake Allen. He was an intriguing option, and many reports indicated that the Kraken did full due diligence on the veteran netminder before eventually deciding not to take him. With Price, there are just too many question marks and risks for an expansion franchise. Not only does he carry a $10.5MM cap hit through the 2025-26 season, but he’s owed an $11MM signing bonus for this season and could need major surgery in the coming weeks.
It’s not even just the cost an injury issues though, as Price has also been an inconsistent performer the last several seasons. With .909 and .901 save percentages the last two seasons, there’s no guarantee he can even help the Kraken to a playoff spot in their first year, an obvious target given some of the players that have already been linked to the team. Price has performed exceptionally well in the postseason once Montreal got there, but there is just too much risk involved in taking on that big of a contract when other goaltenders are available.
In Fleury, the Kraken would receive a 22-year-old defenseman who was once seen as a top prospect in the Montreal organization. He played 41 games with the team during the 2019-20 season, but hasn’t returned to the NHL since. In 22 games for the Laval Rocket, he recorded six points this season. That’s not to say his place as a future NHL defender is gone, but he’ll have to show improvements in Seattle to crack the lineup for 2021-22. No longer waiver-exempt, he’ll either have to make the roster or be available for the rest of the league at the end of training camp.