Carey Price/Jaroslav Halak

The Canadiens traded one of their goaltenders today.  The second guessers are out in full force, with one question  –  “Did they trade the right one?”

Halak was “the man” during the playoffs.  If the Canadiens had made it all the way, he probably would have won the Conn Smythe trophy.  Halak is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who has every right to expect in excess of four million dollars next season.  Price, who is two years younger than Halak and a world away in experience and maturity, has the greater potential.  He is also a restricted free agent who will probably sign for about two million dollars less than Halak will get.  The gamble Pierre Gauthier takes is believing that the potential many feel Price possesses  will, in fact, be realized.   One goaltender, the epitome of consistency.  A winner.  The other, with a well-earned reputation for partying and lack of work ethic.  Some believe much of the off-ice stuff  may be in Price’s past, but we won’t know for sure until responsibility is returned to him by coach Jacques Martin.

The second most-asked question of the summer – “Are these two guys the best the Canadiens could get for Halak?’  Two prospects.  Danish-born Lars Eller, a centre and right wing Ian Schultz of the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL.   

The Scouting Reports –

The Canadiens get potential size up front.  Eller is 6’1”-186 pounds, Schulz 6’3” and 220 lbs.   

When it comes to Eller; they are glowing.  “Fast, skilled. Natural playmaker.  Top notch stickhandler.  Creative.  Has a mean streak. Fearless.  At 186 pounts, needs to bulk up.”   Pretty good stuff for a player taken 13th overall in the draft two years ago.  Schultz was a tird round draft pick (87th) two years ago who grew two inches over the last year.  He’s listed as 6’3” and 220 pounds right now on the Calgary Hitmen web page.  People in Calgary say he has the potential to be another Scott Hartnell.   The Canadiens will gladly take that.

It comes down to money.  

Based on performance last season, Halak will get something over four million dollars as a restricted free agent next year.  It’s now up to St. Louis to sign  him.  Price will come in at something just over 2 million,  That two million dollar difference is going to come in handy when it comes to getting Tomas Plekanec and a few others under contract. Either veteran Curtis Sanford or Cedrick Desjardins will battle it out to become Carey Price’s backup in training camp. 

 More on Lars Eller in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story from February.

And there’s more from the Thursday edition of the Calgary Sun on Ian Schultz.