Carey Price broke the Montreal Canadiens franchise record for most wins in a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on March 12. It was his 315th win.
There is no doubt he is one of the greatest goalies to ever put on a jersey for Montreal. His number, 31, will most likely be retired whenever he retires. And at only 31 years of age, Price still has a lot of time to create a larger legacy provided he is never traded or has a career-ending injury (knock on wood).
Is he the best ever for the franchise though?
Jaques Plante, the player’s record Price broke, won five consecutive Stanley Cups with the Canadiens from 1956 to 1960. However, this was all in the era of the Original Six and the regular season had only 70 games in it. Added to that, the Montreal Canadiens had one of the strongest teams in the history of the NHL.
It was literally filled with legends – Jean Beliveau, Henri and Maurice “Rocket’ Richard, Bernie “Boom-Boom” Geoffrion, Doug Harvey, Dickie Moore, Bert Olmstead and Plante, of course.
Plante did play in five all-star games on behalf of the Habs (and two more for St. Louis and Toronto) and won a Hart Memorial Trophy (1962) and six Vezina Trophies (plus another one in 1969 for St. Louis).
Ken Dryden may have only won 258 games in the 397 he played, but he also won six cups in 1971, 1973, and 1976-1979. He also won a Conn Smythe Trophy (1971), the Calder Memorial Trophy (1972), five Vezina Trophies (1973, 1976-1979) and played in five All-Star games.
Dryden also played with a group of great players such as Guy Lafleur, Pete Mahovlich, Jaques Lemaire, Guy Lapointe, Larry Robinson, Serge Savard and Bob Gainey.
Patrick Roy is another player who is in contention for Montreal’s best goaltender ever, despite his very complicated history with the organization.
He only won two Stanley Cups with the Canadiens (1986, 1993) and was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner for both years. He’s also won four William M. Jennings times (1987-1989, 1992 and one with Colorado in 2002), three Vezinas and played in five All-Star games as a representative with the Habs. 289 of his 551 career wins (which he is second in the NHL for) were with Montreal.
Price, on the other hand, has zero Stanley Cup wins. He does have seven NHL All-Star games under his belt, a Williams M. Jennings award, a Vezina, a Ted Lindsay Award, and Hart a Memorial.
He’s definitely one of the best goalies in the NHL right now, that is for sure. Since he joined the Montreal Canadiens during the 2007-08 season his team has failed to reach the playoffs on three occasions (and possibly a fourth).
However, it is a team sport and the three goalies listed above played for the franchise pre-salary cap era. Price has been arguably the only “superstar” on the roster during the majority of his time there, even though P.K. Subban would come close.