Seriously, someone remind the Montreal Canadiens that they are actually the #8 seed out East. Because now they have taken down the best overall team for the regular season and then last year’s champs. It is a crazy story, and for Stars fans one that we should hate. Jaroslav Halak has become one of the hottest and most talked about goalies in recent history with his play in the 2nd half of this season and now his play in the playoffs. Helping guide a team to two series wins through guys like Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin, Backstrom, Green and more is not a simple task. He has received stellar help from his defense at times, but there have also been countless times that he has made a big save that kept his team in a game or kept the momentum with the Canadiens.
Why should this bother Stars fans? Because he could have been here, either doing this for us or at least giving us a huge amount of hope going into next season and the future. The Canadiens have Price, and he has been the guy for the most part of the last two years and been the “goalie of the future” to many people up there. Even after Halak started playing amazing and did what he did in the Olympics, many people still said he was just getting hot and Price would still be the man of the future. Well continued struggles, being questioned by teammates and falling out of favor with some, and now Halak is the guy and Price is a question mark. Earlier this season there was talk the Montreal was looking at possibly trading Halak to improve the team or add some nice top prospect. Dallas was apparently a team that looked into it a good amount, but would not pull the trigger when those darn Canadiens either wanted Neal or Benn in the deal or another good prospect along with Vishnevskiy.
Of course later in the season Dallas trades for Lehtonen and now signed him for 3 years at 3.55 million a year. I am not saying that this will not work, or even be okay for the Stars. But watching what Halak has done so far in the playoffs and how he played during the season to steal the job from Price, I can not help but dream about if Dallas had made that move. Neal or Benn? No I would not have wanted to trade one of them. But Ivan and another prospect, or perhaps Ivan and Wandell with a 4th round pick, yes it should have been done if you could have worked anything out without giving up Benn, Neal, Richards, Eriksson or Grossman.
Now Montreal has a problem on their hands. They have Price, who may or may not be a future star goalie in the NHL, and they have Halak. Halak is going to be a free agent this summer and Montreal probably does not have to money to keep him unless they let someone else go or move salary out of town. So do they let him go and continue hoping Price continues to grow, or do they let a big player walk or go in a trade and keep Halak? If they do pay Halak and keep him, then it is probably the end of Price. I would assume keeping him would mean Price might be moved for prospects or such. But even if Halak hits the market, Dallas is once again out of it because of their situation and now giving Lehtonen 10.5 million over three years. Oh joy!