Its taken 14 season, but 33-year-old Carey Price will finally get a shot to play for hockey's ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup.
Just days away from the Stanley Cup Finals, the Montreal Canadiens will take on the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Carey Price has been the one constant on the Habs for over a decade and he has the ability to not only steal a game, but an entire series. There’s no player who has meant more to his team in the 2021 postseason and as a result, Price is easily near the top of the Conn Smythe odds and we’re making the case he should win.
Carey Price Conn Smythe Odds
On June 2 when the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets began their second-round series, Price was level with Connor Hellebuyck at +1900 to win the Conn Smythe. There were 12 players with better odds. Eight of those players are no longer in the playoffs, including seven who never made it past the second-round. Price now sits at +144 to win the Conn Smythe, virtually tied with Andrei Vasilevskiy who is at +142.
No player has been more important to the Habs than Price. After scoring 40 goals combined in their first two rounds of the playoffs, Price held the Golden Knights to 13 goals in the series, including just one combined between Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty. He made 37 saves to close out Vegas in Game 6, including a big stop on Alec Martinez that led to a quick 4-on-2 transition for Montreal and the OT winner from Artturi Lehkonen.
There’s essentially no statistical category for goalies that Price isn’t leading in the playoffs. He’s posted a 2.02 goals-against average and .934 save percentage, which almost perfectly matches Vasilevskiy’s, despite Price receiving more high-danger shots and less offensive support. To put it in perspective, when Patrick Roy won the Conn Smythe in 1993, he posted a .929 SV.
Price has kept Montreal in every game, despite the Habs giving up an average of 31.3 shot per game in the postseason, while only recording 29.1. He’s logged the second-most total ice time (1041:48), shots (530) and saves (495) of any goalie in the playoffs and he’s done it on a team that mathematically would not have even made the playoffs if the NHL didn’t temporarily realign the divisions because of COVID travel restrictions.
Regardless of the team result in the Finals, Price deserves the Conn Smythe.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (TBL) +142: Vasilevskiy is the only goalie that comes close to Price’s stats. He’s posted a playoff-leading four shutouts and his 1.99 GAA and .936 SV are nearly identical to Price.
Nikita Kucherov (TBL) +292: Kucherov leads all playoff scorers with 27 points (5G, 22A) in 17 games, which is impressive considering he missed the entire regular season.
Brayden Point (TBL) +349: Point was chasing history. He had a goal in nine straight games, one short of tying Reggie Leach’s record from 1976, before failing to score in Game 7 against the Islanders. Point is leading the postseason with 14 goals and has 20 points in 17 games.
Quick Conn Smythe Facts
- Established in 1964 to honour former Toronto Maple Leafs Owner, General Manager and coach, Conn Smythe
- Montreal Canadiens centre Jean Beliveau was the first winner in 1965
- The first defenceman to win it and only defenceman to win it twice was Bobby Orr in 1970 and 1972
- Patrick Roy is the only player to win it three times (1986, 1993, 2001) and only player to win it with two different teams (86′, 93′ with the Montreal Canadiens, ’01 with the Colorado Avalanche)
- Five players have won the trophy despite losing the Stanley Cup, most recently J.S. Giguere with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 2003
- Only five players born outside of Canada have ever won the trophy
- The Montreal Canadiens have won the most Conn Smythe Trophies with nine