With Price exposed in Wednesday’s draft, the Canadiens would be able to protect backup goaltender Jake Allen.
The 30 teams in the expansion draft can protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goalie; or they can protect eight skaters and one goaltender. All first-year and second-year NHL players, and all unsigned draft picks, are exempt from the expansion draft, and won’t count toward a team’s protection total.
According to TSN, Montreal’s thinking is that Price’s contract would be a deterrent for Seattle. He has five years remaining on an eight-year, $84 million contract, and is due an $11 million signing bonus in September.
The NHL hit pause Saturday after a busy day of league-wide deals that helped teams solidify rosters and make decisions on what players would be exposed to Seattle ahead of Wednesday’s expansion draft.
Teams submitted their protected player lists to the league Saturday, and those who are protected — or more importantly left unprotected — will be released early Sunday. From there, it will be a three-day whirlwind of decisions, phone calls and likely some deals on the side that will eventually make up the Kraken roster that gets announced.
Ron Francis, who was hired two years ago Sunday as the first GM of the Kraken, said his staff has gone through hundreds of mock drafts over the past 18 months building toward the decisions that will be made this week. Seattle has certain minimums it must meet in the expansion draft, including selecting at least 20 players who are under contract for next season and have salaries totaling at least $48 million.
But one of Seattle’s biggest benefits going into the draft is its salary cap space.
“The one thing that we think is extremely, extremely valuable in this environment is cap space,” Francis said. “We’ve got $81.5 million of cap space to play with so that’s certainly something that we want to make sure we try and take advantage of moving forward.”
Price, 33, posted a 12-7-5 record with a 2.64 goals-against average in 25 regular-season games while leading Montreal to its first Stanley Cup Final since 1993. He also started all 22 games during the playoffs, recording a 2.28 GAA and .924 save percentage.
Allen, 30, signed with the Canadiens last offseason and went 11-12-5 with a 2.68 GAA and .907 save percentage.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.