Carey Price wonders if it's obvious that he's sponsored by Reebok.
As Twitter waited with bated breath for Zach Parise's big announcement ("I'm going to Applebee's, because all this thinking has made me crave tiny hamburgers", he eventually said, in a paraphrase), the Montreal Canadiens stepped in to temper the deluge of non-news with some actual news: an extension for netminder Carey Price.
A big extension. The Habs will be set in goal for the next 6 years after locking up Price to a $39 million contract. The deal carries a $6.5 million annual cap hit.
That's substantial. In terms of the cap hit, Price instantly becomes the third-highest paid netminder in the league, behind Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist.
More like Carey Pricy, amirite? (I'll pause for thundering applause.)
Is he worth it?
Well, it's pretty much market value for Price. He joins an elite group of backstops with cap hits at $6M or above: Lundqvist, Rinne, Cam Ward, Ryan Miller, and Nicklas Backstrom, and if you were ranking those six netminders, Price would likely land in the top 3.
But here's where Price deal differs from the comparables and justifies its value: his age. Lundqvist's deals expires when he's 32, but Rinne's expires when he's 36. And every other goaltender with a cap hit above $5m is signed into their mid-thirties. In many cases, their deals expire closer to 40.
Price's deal runs out when he's still a youthful 30.
The Anahim Lake, British Columbia native has matured into an elite netminder far earlier than his colleagues. At 24, he's already been to 3 All-Star games, and he's already shown the maturity and resilience necessary to survive the pressure cooker in Montreal.
When you produce a rare talent like that at such a young age, you're going to have to pay to lock him up long-term.
But not too long. I think it was a wise move by new Habs GM Marc Bergevin to limit the deal to six years rather than go for the Johnny Quick-esque lifetime deal. Considering how quickly goaltending situations in the NHL can change -- considering Roberto Luongo's on the block, Rick DiPietro's deal is laughable, Ilya Bryzgalov's deal already looks like a noose, and Ryan Miller and Marc-Andre Fleury's deals are beginning to look regrettable and there are still 2 and 3 more years on them, respectively -- the last thing you want to do is lock up a goaltender to a lifetime contract anymore.
If Price proves his worth, he'll be in a position to sign another 6-year deal when this one is up. And if he doesn't, Bergevin will be glad it's 6 years and not 10.