So here we are. Price-Gate is on. And not in a quiet sense.
There are no shortages of conspiracy theories right now, and let it never be said that Eklund doesn’t LOVE a good conspiracy theory. Hell, in junior high school I founded a UFO Club and while I know that Bigfoot MAYBE doesn’t exist, I have seen every episode of Finding Bigfoot at least twice. I would be lying if I said part of my “joie de vivre” is NOT the possibility that an undiscovered, bipedal primate is roaming the Pacific Northwest….
And speaking of the Pacific Northwest….Carey Price and the Seattle Kraken…
What the HELL is going on???
Ok…so I have talked to a TON of people of the feeling out there is evolving.. The players I know who know Price are 100% silent. In contrast, the Montreal Canadiens are talking a lot, but mainly to make it 100% clear that this was Price’s idea as a way to save Jake Allen…and then the Habs talked again yesterday when they grew nervous and regretful and felt that maybe Frances WOULD consider doing this. Suddenly we heard about Price possibly missing some of the next season with a knee injury that he looked pretty damn good playing on ten days ago… Ironically, if Price has to go on LTIR that makes this decision even more likely that Seattle grabs him.
Ok, so before I go full X-Files lets talk about what I really feel we KNOW to be true...
#1. The Canadiens DON’T have a side deal with Frances. They are 100% playing chicken with their legendary franchise goalie as bait.
#2. Price is OK if he gets selected by Seattle. Closer to home and his wife is from Seattle. (plus a raise without the Quebec taxes.)
#3.. The money will NOT be the reason Frances would pass on Price. Kraken ownership realizes the value of Price and LOVE the concept of the kind of splash. They get it.
#4. Marc Bergevin is able to blame others if he loses Price, but also you have to assume part of him is OK with losing Price. But be certain...how this goes down will determine this GM's legacy.
#5. The Kraken realize what Marc Andre Fleury meant to Vegas and can easily see Price doing all that and more…A lot of #31 jerseys to sell, a proven leader, a lot of stolen points mean confidence to a young team.
So Eklund’s Conspiracy Theory.
Ok…what I am about to write is part speculative based on the people I have talked to and part speculative/logic based on knowing Price a little bit and all that has gone down in Montreal.
This has been going on for a while...
Prior to Price’s performance over the past season and a half, there were points where the Canadiens grew frustrated with Price’s play, his injuries, and of course his enormous contract. The Habs would have probably even traded Price if they could find any takers for the contract...and I am quite sure Price was frustrated that on one hand they showed this huge commitment by signing the deal, and on the other hand they were willing to move him right after they signed…
During those dark days you can be pretty sure that Price discussed with his wife that he could one day “do a Fleury” and offer to go to Seattle. This would move her home, Price closer to his BC roots, be a fresh start with less pressure, AND the Montreal fans would even appreciate Price’s great sacrifice. As Penguins fans did of Fleury way back when…. Oh, and by the way the taxes in Seattle are WORLDS better than the taxes in Quebec. Price gets a HUGE raise.
Then this season happened and it became ALL TO TRUE that the rumors of Carey Price’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Price was the largest reason the Habs had this miraculous run and the fans of this legendary team realized Price was still one of the 5 best in the NHL. Meanwhile, Price was loving the run, but HAD to be considering how this would complicate the Seattle plan which (if true) I am quite certain only he and his wife knew about…
The Canadiens were aware that Jake Allen was likely to be lost to Seattle but were insulted that the asking price was a first and third for Seattle to NOT to take Allen. So Bergevin, who currently is about as confident as he ever has been after this playoff run said, “screw that, we aren’t paying your ransom. Price volunteered to be unprotected and there is no way you will pay the $21Million .”
And the game of chicken is set.
In my opinion, this may go down as the WORST decision/gamble ever made by the Montreal Canadiens. There is no way Frances and Bergevin are working a side deal. The owners in Seattle are ready, and probably hoping, Frances goes for it.
Frances may have not wanted to do this, because you can be sure this was not in the plans, but if you listen to Seattle radio today the fans are overwhelming in wanting Price. Bergevin also didn’t take into account the kind of public pressure an expansion team fan base can put forth….
As I see it now, either Bergevin or Frances will go down as making a HUGE mistake. Frances wants a goalie to do what Fleury did for Vegas…and an even better option was just handed to him. No one will blame him for taking Price, but passing on this kind of gift could be very hard for Ron Frances to come back from…