All eyes in the hockey world are on Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis this week as he prepares to select his team's inaugural roster from the tempting options presented to him from the NHL's other 30 teams, excluding Vegas.
The biggest question facing Francis this week though might be whether or not to select superstar goaltender Carey Price from the Montreal Canadiens. Fans were shocked when Habs GM Marc Bergevin elected to protect backup Jake Allen over Price, with the assumption I guess that Francis and the Kraken would be scared off from selecting Price due to his exorbitant contract. Well... that gamble may work against Bergevin reports NHL insider Elliotte Friedman.
In his latest 31 Thoughts podcast for Sportsnet, Friedman reports that the Kraken are doing a "deep dive" on Price's medical history and that team's ownership have given Francis their full support to select Price and absorb his contract, including his $11 million bonus due later this offseason.
More tidbits from Friedman:
"Something happened between Ron Francis and Marc Bergevin... and I believe the ask for Allen to not take him was a 2nd and a prospect and Bergevin said 'No.' I think what Montreal's plan was that Carey Price really liked working with Jake Allen and next year was going to be like a regular season split. A situation where Carey Price became the 1A in the regular season... and then was raring to go in the playoffs. And Price was signing off on that idea, now I don't know what happened here but it sounds like there's a little bit of bad blood from the conversations and that Montreal tried this move."
"I kind of wonder if Montreal is now regretting this... "
As for Price himself, Friedman reports that there are two theories as to what's happening with him now:
"One that he did the Canadiens a favor and that he didn't think that this was actually ever going to happen. And two that... he knew it could happen and he was at least comfortable with the idea."
To which I say, "why wouldn't he be?"
Seattle has all the makings of a strong team out of the gate and Price has considerable ties to the Seattle area. He played four seasons for the Tri-City Americans in nearby Kennewick, Washington and his wife and her family are from Washington state. To be honest I feel like Bergevin has made a huge mistake by exposing Price and it seems now like the organization is beginning to realize it.
Source: Elliotte Friedman · Photo Credit: Zuma Press