The National Hockey League may be headed towards a massive trade, or at least it would have been a massive trade just a few short years ago.
The Calgary Flames have been dealing with some significant struggles in goal this season and not only would that normally prompt a team to look at every possible solution, but in the case of the Flames it's even more in their interest than normally. The Flames number one goaltender is currently veteran goalie Mike Smith but the good news for the Flames organization here is that they are only on the hook with Smith for one more season should they choose to go in a new direction at the end of the season, or perhaps even before then should they chose.
Back in 2013 Smith signed a 6 year deal with the Arizona Coyotes, a deal that would pay him a total of $34 million over the full length of the contract, and although the Flames took on that deal Smith will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The decision to move on from Smith would be motivated by the fact that he has been very lackluster this season with a 3.48 goals against average and a .876 save percentage over the course of 13 games this season. Add to that the fact that Smith is at a fairly advanced age at 36 years old and it seems unrealistic to expect him to bounce back and continue producing long term for the Flames organization.
The good news for the Flames here is that goaltender David Rittich has been playing well above expectations this season and it seems likely that the Flames will look to ride the hot hand more and more moving forward, that being said though it also seems unrealistic to expect Rittich to maintain his current level of play over the long term. At 26 years old Rittich has never shown this form for any length of time before and as a result The Athletic's Kent Wilson took a look at a number of trade options available to the Flames this week.
Of all of them however one name stood out above all the rest, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. Not only would Price be a viable long term option to backstop for the Flames current young core, but with his dip in form as well as the ridiculous contract that the Canadiens provided him there may actually be a realistic desire on the part of Habs general manager Marc Bergevin to move his star goaltender.
On top of an apparently very steep decline, Price has one of the most onerous contracts in the league — $10.5 million per year until 2026. It’s a deal that may have been more palatable if Price was continuing to play like a Vezina candidate, but may rapidly turn into an albatross if his performance doesn’t greatly improve (and soon).
Price is a tantalizing option because there’s an outside chance that he may regain his past form. Unfortunately, his contract and recent results make that a very risky proposition.
Given the long term nature of Price's contract with would be a major gamble on the part of the Flames organization but if it paid off it could be a franchise defining type of trade. On top of that given the contract as well as his decline in performance the Flames will almost assuredly never get a chance to get Price when his value is lower than it is right at this moment.
Would you take the risk if you were the Flames? Would you, as a Habs fan, be willing to give up Price to get out from under his contract? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.