BROSSARD - Keith Kinkaid is primed to build a solid working relationship with Carey Price.
The 30-year-old goaltender made that point abundantly clear during a media opportunity at the Bell Sports Complex on Monday.
Kinkaid, who drove up from New Jersey, was in town for a workout session at the Canadiens' practice facility and to find some new digs for the upcoming season.
"To work with a guy like Carey Price is going to be tremendous. Hopefully, I can lighten up his workload a little bit. I want to be a guy they can count on when they need to win a game and give Carey a night off," said Kinkaid, while proudly sporting his No. 37 jersey for the first time in the locker room. "It'll be a good relationship. It'll be a strong, competitive relationship. I think that's key to getting the most out of each other."
While the pair haven't met in person since Kinkaid inked a one-year contract with the Canadiens on July 1, Price has touched based with his new playing partner.
According to the Farmingville, NY native, the Canadiens' starter reached out via text message and welcomed him into the fold.
That meant a lot to Kinkaid, who has long admired the 12-year NHL veteran from afar.
"Just seeing those acrobatic saves he makes, he never gives up on the play. I kind of do whatever it takes to stop the puck, too. We can have some fun with that," said Kinkaid. "I'm just going to be the best teammate I can be, work with him, learn from him, and we'll push each other to be better."
Learning from goaltending coach - and two-time Stanley Cup champion - Stephane Waite also has him brimming with enthusiasm.
"He seems like an awesome guy. I'm excited to work with him and bounce ideas back and forth and see what each other is all about," mentioned Kinkaid. "I just like to have fun and work hard. He seems that way, too."
As for Kinkaid's workload next season, it hasn't yet been discussed in his conversations with the Habs' brass to date.
"You don't see goalies playing 70-plus games anymore, so I'll do anything I can do to take the load off him," said Kinkaid, referencing Price's 66 appearances in between the pipes last year. "But, we haven't put numbers on it."
Right now, the Union College product is focused squarely on preparing himself for what he hopes will be a turnaround season after posting a 15-18-6 record, along with a 3.36 goals-against average and a .891 save percentage in 41 outings with the Devils in 2018-19.
And he certainly wouldn't mind righting the ship in a place where hockey means absolutely everything to everyone.
"The past few years, I've gotten the highs and lows of the NHL and the rigors of it. It'll just help me going forward, especially in a place like Montreal where there's a lot of pressure," explained Kinkaid. "You have to perform. This summer, I've been building myself up back to where I was two years ago and where I wanted to be at the start of last year. I had a good start last year, but then things went south. That happens, but you live and learn from everything. It makes you better."
The bottom line is that Kinkaid is chomping at the bit to begin a new chapter in his career.
"I was just looking for the right opportunity. This seemed like a great fit," affirmed Kinkaid. "It's a new, fresh start. There are different faces. You get to meet new people and make relationships. I'm excited about that. I think it was time for the fresh start for me."
More importantly, Kinkaid is ready to do anything that's asked of him in order to help the Canadiens enjoy success.
"I want to be that person that can help in any way, whether it's on the ice or off the ice. I want to get the wins for the team when I'm in net," said Kinkaid. "If they need me for more games or less games, I'll be there."
Nice to meet you!
While on the South Shore, Kinkaid also spent some time connecting with Paul Byron in the gym and meeting with youngsters at the Canadiens Hockey School.
"It's fun just how passionate Canada and Montreal are about hockey," said Kinkaid. "Fans are crazy about hockey. The city is crazy about hockey. I'm excited to get to it."