MONTREAL — Carey Price is expected to return to Montreal soon, Montreal Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said Tuesday.
The 34-year-old goalie is voluntarily taking part in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program and has been away from the Canadiens since Oct. 7.
“We haven’t had it confirmed yet but we’re expecting him to be in town soon,” Ducharme said, “but we don’t have an exact date.”
No timetable was given for Price to return to game action.
Price was 13-9 with a 2.28 goals-against average, .924 save percentage and one shutout in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, helping Montreal reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since winning the Cup in 1993. They lost the best-of-7 series in five games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
He did not take part in training camp after having arthroscopic surgery in New York on July 22 to repair a torn meniscus, with the Canadiens saying at the time his full recovery would take 10-12 weeks.
Price resumed skating Sept. 16 and told NHL.com he was in the Canadiens gym and medical clinic almost every day getting back into shape before entering the program.
Montreal, which is 2-8-0, including a season-opening five-game losing streak, left Price exposed in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft one day before his surgery, but he was not selected by the Seattle Kraken.
Jake Allen has started eight games for the Canadiens in Price’s absence this season; he’s 2-6-0 with a 2.91 GAA, .907 save percentage and one shutout.
Montreal played the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday (TSN2, RDS, BSDET+, ESPN+, NHL.TV).
Since being selected by the Canadiens with the No. 5 pick in the 2005 NHL Draft, Price is 360-257-79 with a 2.50 GAA, .917 save percentage and 49 shutouts in 707 regular-season games (695 starts). His wins are the most in Montreal history.
In 2014-15, he won the Vezina Trophy voted as the best goalie in the NHL, the Hart Trophy as the most valuable player in the NHL, and the Ted Lindsay Award, given annually to the most outstanding player as voted by members of the NHL Players’ Association.
That season Price led the NHL with 44 wins and a 1.96 GAA, each an NHL career best, and a .933 save percentage, his second-best in the NHL (he had a .934 save percentage in 2015-16).
Price has five seasons remaining on an eight-year contract he signed with the Canadiens on July 2, 2017.