Habs lock down goalie Price on an eight-year deal worth $84 million

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Stephen Whyno David Zalubowski, The As­so­ci­ated Press

Carey Price couldn’t imag­ine wear­ing any­thing but a Cana­di­ens uni­form, while Patrick Mar­leau ag­o­nized about trad­ing in his Sharks jersey for a Maple Leafs one.

On Sun­day, Price signed an $84 million eight-year ex­ten­sion that means he’ll prob­a­bly fin­ish his ca­reer in Mon­treal, Mar­leau left San Jose to sign an $18.75 million, three-year deal with Toronto, and long­time run­ning mate Joe Thorn­ton re-signed with the Sharks for one year and $8 million.

Mean­while, the back-to-back Pres­i­dents’ Tro­phy win­ning Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals con­tin­ued re­tool­ing by sign­ing cen­ter Evgeny Kuznetsov for $62.4 million over eight years and trad­ing for­ward Mar­cus Jo­hans­son to New Jersey for 2018 sec­ond- and thir­dround picks.

Mar­leau and Thorn­ton were in con­tact through­out their re­spec­tive freeagent pro­cesses but made dif­fer­ent de­ci­sions. Toronto’s ad­di­tion of Mar­leau gives rookie of the year Aus­ton Matthews an ex­pe­ri­enced goal-scorer on his left wing.

The soon-to-be 38-year-old spent his first 19 seasons in San Jose and called it “ex­tremely dif­fi­cult” to leave.

“I think I’ve worn out a few car­pets pac­ing around the house try­ing to make this de­ci­sion,” Mar­leau said. “The de­ci­sion took me quite a while to come to, but I’ve made it and I’m happy with it.”

The Cana­di­ens and Maple Leafs haven’t met in the play­offs since 1979. Moves made Sun­day put them on a much more likely crash course in the next few years.

Price’s ex­ten­sion, which pays him $10.5 million a year from 2018-19 through 2025-26, so­lid­i­fies the most im­por­tant po­si­tion in the sport long term in one of the league’s most fer­vent mar­kets.

Price won the Hart Tro­phy as MVP and Vez­ina Tro­phy as the top goalie in 2014-15 and has the third-best save per­cent­age of any ac­tive goal­tender since en­ter­ing the league in 2007-08.

“I never thought about putting on an­other uni­form,” Price said. “I just thought it’d be too weird, I guess.”

It was weird to ever imag­ine Mar­leau wear­ing an­other uni­form other than the Sharks, but he de­cided to leave San Jose and take a deal with Toronto that counts $6.25 million against the cap through 2019-20 and in­cludes a full no-movement clause.

The signed cen­ter Evgeny Kuznetsov to a $62.4 million, eight-year deal and cleared space by trad­ing for­ward Mar­cus Jo­hans­son to the Devils for 2018 sec­ond- and third-round picks.

The Cap­i­tals cleared about $4.58 million by trad­ing Jo­hans­son.

“There’s a salary cap,” Devils GM Ray Shero said. “If there wasn’t, I’m sure Mar­cus would still be in Wash­ing­ton.”

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