This is something that both Montreal Canadiens’ fans and hockey fans should be noticing right about now.
In 2014-15, Carey Price was the best goaltender in the world. In winning the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender and the Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player, Price was unbelievably dominant.
That season, Price went 44-16-6 with a 1.96 goals against average, a .933 save percentage and nine shutouts. He also played pretty well in the playoffs as he went 6-6 with a 2.23 goals against average, a .920 save percentage and one shutout.
He turned a lot of heads that season. He showed that when it came to the technical part of the game, he was the best as he controlled his rebounds, did not make too many movements, and looked completely in control of everything he did.
This all changed when he got hurt the following season. After getting off to an unreal 10-2 start with a 2.06 goals against average, a .934 save percentage and two shutouts, he got injured in a start against the New York Rangers on November 25, 2015 and was lost for the rest of the season.
In my estimation, he really has not been the same since. Yes, he had a great season the following year when he went 37-20-5 with a 2.23 goals against average, a .923 save percentage and three shutouts, but ever since then, his game has been off.
Last year, he missed part of the year with another injury and when he did play, he wasn’t very good. He finished last season with a 16-26-7 record and posted a 3.11 goals against average, a .900 save percentage and one shutout.
While his team is off to a good start this season at 9th in the league with 19 points, he hasn’t looked great. I’m not a Canadiens’ expert or anything like that, but I do consider myself very knowledgeable when it comes to goaltenders considering I play the position and am somewhat of a fanatic when it comes to the position.
For starters, his stats aren’t great. As of this writing, Price is 5-4-3 in 12 starts with a 3.07 goals against average and a .892 save percentage, well down from his career numbers (2.48 goals against average and a .918 save percentage).
Secondly, and to me at least, he just has not looked as comfortable between the pipes prior to his injury during the 2015-16 season. I am not sure if he’s being hesitant because of his injury history or if it’s something else, but in my eyes, he has looked different in goal.
Lastly, I feel he’s just been different. He’s been giving up a lot more goals, has had trouble controlling rebounds and does not look asagail as he once did.
In my opinion, I think that we have yet to see the “real” Carey Price between the pipes for the Canadiens. It’s not a knock against Price as I still think he is an elite talent.
Heck, Price is nine wins away from hitting 300 career victories and he still has a solid career goals against average of 2.48, a great career save percentage of .918, and 41 career shutouts. These are all numbers that if they continue this way, they could end up getting him into the Hockey Hall of Fame when all is said and done.
With that said, Price is not the same goalie that he was prior to the devastating injury in 2015-16. If he gets back to being that guy, only then will the “real” Price have returned to guarding the Canadiens’ goal.