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In the end, it was nothing more than an enticing game of chicken.
According to multiple reports, the Seattle Kraken will resist any urge to select star netminder Carey Price from the Montreal Canadiens in Wednesday's expansion draft, instead opting for prospect Cale Fleury.
Price's exclusion from the Canadiens' expansion list was the most intriguing storyline heading into Seattle's expansion celebration. It's believed Seattle gave plenty of thought to including Price in its inaugural team, but decided against an option GM Ron Francis and his team presumably didn't consider a possibility in their preparations for the release of the protected rosters.
Reports suggest that Montreal wasn't actively trying to divorce from Price, but that the club took the calculated gamble to expose the netminder and his $10.5 million salary in an effort to protect his insulation, backup Jake Allen.
With the Kraken prioritizing cap space, and Chris Driedger also believed to be signed for $3.5 million on a medium-term contract, selecting Price would handcuff the team's ability to achieve peak financial flexibility.
Though Price has the pedigree, experience and values attractive to a team like the Kraken, his peak is likely in the rearview mirror as well.
He's coming off a brilliant performance in the Stanley Cup playoffs and Montreal's unlikely run to the NHL's championship series, but his regular-season numbers have dipped considerably since his dominant seasons in the mid 2010s.
He most recently only narrowly avoided a sub-.900 season, posting a .901 save percentage in 25 starts in 2020-21.
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