MONTREAL — Carey Price will soon be the highest-paid goaltender in hockey.
The Montreal Canadiens signed the 29-year-old to an eight-year extension that reportedly carries an annual cap hit of US$10.5 million. That will soon surpass Henrik Lundqvist for the top annual mark among goalies in the NHL with the New York Rangers veteran currently earning $8.5 million on the cap annually.
Price’s new deal doesn’t kick in until the 2018-19 season and won’t expire until the summer of 2026.
Price, a native of Anahim Lake, B.C., has one year left on a six-year deal signed exactly five years earlier which carried an annual cap hit of $6.5 million. He was due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Getting him signed before that was among the top priorities for general manager Marc Bergevin this off-season. Bergevin has been active otherwise — acquiring promising 22-year-old Jonathan Drouin from Tampa; trading for defenceman David Schlemko; and then signing Karl Alzner to a pricey five-year deal on July 1.
Price is well deserving of the big raise and distinction of highest-paid goalie in the league.
He won the Vezina trophy as the league’s top goaltender in the 2014-15 season and has the highest save percentage (.923) since the start of the 2011-12 season. He finished third in Vezina voting this past season — Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky won for the second time — posting a .923 save percentage in 62 starts.
Price’s pending $10.5 million cap hit will not only top the goalie market, but temporarily match Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks for highest in the game.
Connor McDavid is nearing an eight-year extension with the Edmonton Oilers that will reportedly surpass $13 million annually on the cap.