There were many Montreal Canadian numbers to consider before deciding to give Keith Kincaid $ 1.75 million on July 1, but the most important of them is 82. This is the number of Kinkaid games . appeared over the last two seasons.
For Canadian it was more important that he played 41 games with New Jersey Devils last season from his record of 15-18-6, disappointing 3.36 goals against a moderate and unhappy percentage. Especially since they could balance those numbers against those who posted in 41 games before the season, when they managed to go 26-10-3, with 2.77 goals against an average and 913 rescue rate to push a weak Devils team in the Playoffs the Stanley Cup.
But the combined 82 games told Canadiens almost everything they needed to know, which is Kinkaid, which can help them do what they were unable to do last season, when the reserve Antti Niemi turned into a straight and forced Carey Price in six more games than originally written. This is mostly about managing the recent load at the 32-year price at Price, which Kinkaid says is ready.
The 30-year-old New Yorker who arrived in Montreal on Sunday met with the media on Monday with his new Canadian threads.
"I'm just happy to be here," he said, pointing to No. 37. "I'm happy to have another chance to play in the best league in the world, working with a guy like Kerry Price would be huge. takes the job and relieve it a little – I want to be a person that they can count on when they need someone to win a game and give Carey a break.
That's what they want.
Canadians are aware of the NHL trend where start-up players play fewer games than they did during the season for the past two decades. They are also aware that Price has been forced to make 66 appearances last season – 12 less than the Stanley Cup finalists Tukuka Raska and Jordan Binnington combined to play.
They know that if they keep the price to play at an elite level, if they want to keep their best quality during the seven seasons he's left with the contract, they'll have to lean a little more on someone else.
It would not be Charlie Lindgren, the 25-year-old who has only accumulated 18 NHL matches since signing the Canadiens in 2016. It would not be 22-year-old AHLer Michael McNewen. A Cayden Primeau, the 19-year-old Christmas superstar who still does not appear as a pro, could not be resolved.
But Kinkaid had a lot of sense for Canadiens, not only because he could ease Price's load, but also because he is an experienced professional with 151 NHL games under his belt. The value of his mandate, if the price suffers an injury or misses some games due to illness, is significant.
The price has missed matches every season since entering the league, including 133 because of injury or illness since 2008. This team of Canadiens, who has missed twice the playoffs and three times in the last four seasons, needed a suitable insurance policy and found one in Kincaid.
In the ideal world, Canadiens will not have to use it in that capacity but will have to use it much more than they used Niemi, who made only 17 appearances last year after making 19 in his first year in the team.
Knowing that they could depend on Kincaid for at least 30 matches, this forthcoming season gave the Canadians peace of mind to offer him a contract. They may only want to use it for 22 to 25 games, but they do not have to wonder if they are capable of playing more.
And Kincaid believes he's ready to deal with the load. The fact that he faces the challenge of playing in this crazy city of hockey is also something.
"Over the past few years, I've managed to reach the NHL's top and bottom, and its harshness. It just will help me move forward, especially in a place like Montreal, where there is a lot of pressure, "he said. – You have to run.
With a record of 64-55-17 so far in a decent team of Devils, who only made the playoffs for the past five seasons, there is reason to believe Kincaid can.
"I want to be that person who can help in any way," he said. "I want to win the victories for the team when I'm on the net. If they give me more games or fewer games, I'll be there. "