Price and his agent have played their opening gambit (in our imaginations)and the Canadiens have answered (in our imaginations again). I think we can all agree that unless Gauthier comes up with some stats wizardry or another #1 goalie, the Price team is looking good to pull salary towards their notion of fair dues.
The negotiation now turns to Gauthier and his team to argue the negative (or if they're inventive, the positive) so the salary cap burden of Price is more what they had in mind when they thought he would be the much cheaper option.
[Remember that for these mock purposes, we're assuming that Carey Price’s team is for $3 million as per HabsWorld's uncited "report" (1 to 3 years) and that the Habs are coutering with $1.7 million (2 to 4 years).]
Have you met our new numbers man, Ken Morin? He was only officially hired yesterday, but he came with some numbers in hand which we thought would be handy for these discussions.
You mentioned a 0.912 save percentage. We fully acknowledge that number, but would like to say right off the bat that we don’t exclude playoffs from our analyses, so we’ll be going ahead with a 0.910 number, just so you know.
Just a quick look at other stats from this season. You already mentioned Carey’s 0.912 from the season which ranked him 21st in the league. We’d like to just highlight a few stats to add context:
(min 16 GP)
41 GP (33rd)
39 GS (32nd)
13 W (37th)
0.33 W per start (55th)
0.33 W per 60 min (54th)
2.77 GAA (36th)
0 SO (T 48th)
You present Carey as an established starter with top 20 numbers. Based on what we see, we think he is right where he should be, but is still a developing youngster climbing the ranks. We think it would be fair to pay him as such.
We have addressed a lot so far, but a common element of 2nd contract negotiations has been conspicuously absent from these talks. Usually, we can all look at a player and draw upward trends. We find the talk about pedigree a bit disingenuous when we consider the decline since season one with Carey.
Our analysis reveals that since his 48th game in the NHL (the 7th game in the 2008 Boston series), where Carey was a 2.49, 0.920 goalie, he has but for very brief bumps been declining or standing still. If this were game 92 we were talking about, there wouldn’t be any reason for concern, but this is 106 games later now – 2 entire NHL seasons.
From game 49 to game 108 (last game of 2009) Carey declined to a 2.76, 0.910 goalie. Since that time, he has stemmed the decline but only to maintain that level.
Again, we are not suggesting this is anyway abnormal for a young goalie, but suggest that paying Carey as a seasoned pro, or a near-elite at this stage is off the mark. He is learning, but learning slowly. We also hope and assume there is still learning to be done and that he’ll be working on this into the upcoming season, if not beyond. As such, we don’t think we should be paying the price as he were the finished article.
Save percentage breakdown
M. Morin has been doing some excellent work, he really has. He has showed us a lot about how to look at save percentage. That is, to see how a goalie comes to his 91% of shots saved.
When we look at when goals are scored, we can see a massive gulf in between what goaltender we get at the beginning of a game compared to the end. Whereas, after a goal is allowed, Carey is on par with those you say are his peers (2.53, 0.920), for the start of games, he has an entirely different set of peers (3.30, 0.892).
Again we’re fully on board with the learning and will support Carey as long as it takes. But this is taken from this past season, and is further evidence of the fact that learning is not done. We think this bolsters our suggestion that paying for the finished article at this point is premature.
Throughout his career until now, we have provided Carey with the best support and opportunities ever afforded to a goaltender of his age. We have showed our support by trading Halak and by signing in a veteran back up willing and able to support 60 games from Carey.
We continue to show this support and will do as he continues to learn his trade at this high level. Knowing Carey the way we do, and knowing what he needs from our years together, we think we offer him the best environment there is to thrive at the moment.
Currently Montreal stands as one of two teams (if we assume Huet and Niemi haven’t been settled on) where there is a starting position. Rather than looking on starts as a burden, we think starts are an asset to your client. We don’t think he can get this opportunity anywhere else in the NHL at the present time.
In the balance
Gauthier digs deep here. But is it enough to overcome the fact he chose Price long ago and would rely on Auld and an AHLer if Price were to opt out?