Amid uncertainty over Price, Canadiens have no plans to make a goalie trade

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price stands in the crease during the second period of Game 2 of the team's NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning. (AP/file)

The Montreal Canadiens "don't have plans to trade a goalie right now," general manager Kent Hughes said Wednesday, despite the lingering uncertainty over when -- or if -- franchise cornerstone Carey Price would be able to make his return to the ice.

Price last played on July 7 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Tampa Bay Lightning won the match 1-0 to take the series and the championship for the second consecutive season.

"We're still in a period of uncertainty with Carey, and we'll still be in one until Carey plays a few games and we see how his knee responds," Hughes said. "We don't have plans to trade a goalie right now."

The 34-year-old has yet to play a game this season due to the knee surgery and time spent in the NHL/NHLPA's joint player assistance program.

Though his timeline for a return to game action remains unknown, there have been vaguely promising signs of progress over recent months. He briefly started skating in late 2021 but then had to take a step back in his recovery, returning to only off-ice work until March when his on-ice work resumed.

In his absence, the Canadiens have struggled through what has been a largely forgettable season on the ice, hamstrung by poor play and injuries and sit in last place in the Eastern Conference as Monday's trade deadline approaches.

Their stature in the standings has fuelled speculation that the team will be largely sellers with an eye toward building for the future. On Wednesday night, they took a meaningful step in that direction by dealing defenceman Ben Chiarot to the Florida Panthers.

Without Price and with no trades on the horizon, the Canadiens' crease will be manned by Jake Allen, who Montreal activated off the injured reserve on Thursday morning.

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