Carey Price’s journey back to the top of the mountain has taken another unfortunate - and potentially final - setback.
The Montreal Canadiens are expecting to be without their franchise goaltender at the start of the 2022-23 season, and they aren’t too confident about his chances of playing at all next season.
After acquiring forward Sean Monahan from the Calgary Flames on Thursday, Canadiens GM Kent Hughes spoke to the media over Zoom and was asked about Price’s status. The 52-year-old executive didn’t provide a positive outlook, though, revealing that the veteran netminder’s knee isn’t currently healthy.
"The news about Carey's knee is pretty discouraging in the sense that there hasn't been any improvement throughout the rehab process," Hughes said. "All last season it obviously continued to create problems for him. This summer he went through the process of a shot to the knee, seeing if that would help. It did not.
"At this point, we don't expect Carey to be available for the start of the season, quite frankly I don't know if there's [a] path for Carey to return this season through the rehab process.”
That’s certainly not what Canadiens fans wanted to hear regarding their 35-year-old goaltender, who played just five games last season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in July 2021.
If Price is to play next season, he’ll likely have to undergo another knee surgery beforehand. But at his age, going under the knife for a second time just over 12 months later will require plenty of assessment ahead of time.
"That's a question we'll be able to better answer after we speak to Carey and our doctors at the start of training camp so I can't answer right now, but I think that if there's a way for Carey to return to play it will require surgery on his part," Hughes continued.
"So that's something we'll need to have more information about before giving you an answer but I can answer that we don't think that Carey will be able to return to play with rehab."
Price has endured his fair share of obstacles since leading Montreal to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. A few months after undergoing knee surgery, the 2021-22 Bill Masterton Trophy winner entered the league’s player assistance program, citing substance abuse.
The 6’3” netminder later returned to the team and ultimately made a late-season return, closing out his campaign with a 37-save victory over the Florida Panthers.
In 15 NHL seasons, Price has played 712 career games, posting a 361-261-79 record, 2.51 goals-against average, .917 save percentage and 49 shutouts. He won the Hart Memorial and Vezina trophies in 2014, recognized as the league's most-valuable player and top goaltender.
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