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Price preseason choice to win Vezina Trophy

NHL.com panel predicts Canadiens goalie will be best in League

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

To mark the beginning of the 2017-18 regular season, NHL.com is running its first installment of the Trophy Tracker series this week. Today, we look at the race for the Vezina Trophy.

Given the amount of talent around the Eastern Conference, the Montreal Canadiens are going to need Carey Price to steal some games for them if they're going to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.

Fortunately for them, Price is world-class. That's why the Canadiens signed the 30-year-old to an eight-year contract extension July 2.

 

[RELATED: McDavid top preseason pick for Hart Trophy | Hedman preseason choice for Norris]

 

It's also why the consensus among 17 NHL.com voters has Price as the preseason favorite to win the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the top goaltender in the League.

Price won the Hart Trophy as NHL most valuable player and the Vezina Trophy in 2014-15. He leads the League in save percentage (.929) and goals-against average (2.09) in 140 games since the start of that season.

Video: Carey Price takes the No. 7 spot

"I've had a lot of ups and downs here and feel like over these last 10 years I've got enough experience to know how to deal with just about any situation that gets thrown at me," Price said. "I feel of anybody, I feel like I'm most suited to deal with this. It's hard at times, but other times it's the most fun you're going to have in the entire NHL, is playing well in Montreal. There's nothing that compares to it."

Price received 10 of 17 first-place votes and finished with 69 points, 30 more than the second-place finisher, Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray, who played 49 regular-season games in 2016-17, finished third with 30 points.

Price had a .923 save percentage last season, tied for seventh in the NHL, and his 37 wins and 2.23 GAA were tied for fifth. He finished third in voting for the Vezina behind Bobrovsky and Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby.

With 270 NHL career wins, Price is 19 behind Patrick Roy for second in Canadiens history. Jacques Plante leads with 314.

"You know what? There's a saying we use: Goalies are not important until you don't have one," Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said after signing Price to the extension. "Seeing what's going on around the League with teams who are looking for a goaltender, it's really hard to do. So it's a position that's hard to find, and we have in our opinion one of the best in the business, if not the best, so we're going to keep him and make sure he's here for the rest of his career."

Voting totals (points awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1- basis): Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens, 69 points (10 first-place votes); Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets, 39 (one); Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins, 30 (one); Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild, 24 (two); Cam Talbot, Edmonton Oilers, 18; Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals, 17; Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning, 11 (one); Ben Bishop, Dallas Stars, 10; Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins, 7 (one); John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks, 7; Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks, 7; Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks, 5 (one); Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers, 3; Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues, 2; Mike Smith, Calgary Flames, 2; Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators, 2; Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators, 2

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