Carey Price and Youppi Kent Hughes untouchable

Kent Hughes: “Carey Price is untouchable”

That’s a keeper.

It’s been said and proven wrong before — didn’t Marc Bergevin express a similar sentiment about PK Subban? — but a lot of speculation may be put to rest now after the Montreal Canadiens new GM Kent Hughes said in an interview with 98.5FM on Thursday that “Carey Price is untouchable.”

“Carey Price is untouchable because he is so important to the organization. He has been the most important player for a decade and he has a no-trade clause.”

—Kent Hughes

With the Habs sucking hard for the first half of this season, proponents of a deep team rebuild (and random Price haters) have been calling for the absentee star goalie to step away from the team, and open up his $10.5-million salary (or part of it) for the Canadiens to draw better players. But because Price’s contract has a No Movement Clause, he’d have to go willingly, and the Habs would have to eat part of his salary after a trade. A number of professional and amateur analysts seem to think this scenario would solve hockey — better players for us, maybe a Stanley Cup for Price with the Oilers or the Avalanche. But that’s a total crapshoot, and as sports writer Grant McCagg wrote in a Jan. 3 editorial, it’s presumptuous, audacious even, to assume that Price only has a couple of good years left.

“Patrick Roy, Marty Brodeur, Ed Belfour and Dominik Hasek won Cups and/or took their teams to the Cup finals over the past 22 years, and all were older than Price at the time. Dwayne Roloson led Edmonton to the Cup finals at the age of 36, so the thought that Price only has a year or two left to win a Cup, for me, is presumptuous. I think he remains elite for at least five more years.”

—Grant McCagg

Grant McCagg reacts to Kent Hughes saying Carey Price is untouchable

When asked specifically about whether the team could buy out Price’s contract, which runs through the 2025–26 season, Hughes told 98.5FM, “I can’t answer that right now, but I don’t believe so.” Hughes also noted that he would be conducting his first meeting with Price this week.

Of course, given what we’ve been told about the slow progress of Price’s knee rehab, even if wanted to move, the odds of that happening by the March 2021 trade deadline are next to nil — will he even play by then? How the situation will develop beyond that, when Hughes and hockey operations VP Jeff Gorton have put their reset plan into action — and when the draft will be hosted in Montreal during the off-season in July — is difficult to predict.

“The first question to answer is to know where he is at in terms of health. He has problems with his knee and there are still answers to be found.”

—Kent Hughes on the status of Carey Price

Éric Raymond said Carey Price misses hockey and is frustrated that he can’t play.

Price hasn’t been speaking to the media since he issued a statement about seeking mental health support for substance use issues in November, so all we know about what he’s thinking and feeling about his career is second-hand. It bears repeating, however, that in his most recent interview with in September, he said (after he and his family had to mentally prepare for being claimed by the Seattle Kraken in July), “we’re thankful to be back here [and] at the end of the day, we’re going to be a Montreal Canadien for the rest of our career.” ■

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