Well, I hope Carey Price can play close to 82 games this year. And I hope he can win a good chunk of them, because Pierre Gauthier has given the Canadiens no other choice. Cristobal Huet and Jaroslav Halak threatened Price's role as the annointed number-one goalie in Montreal and both of them got the boot. So, when Gauthier went shopping for a backup, he made sure to pick someone who's absolutely no threat to Price. He got that by spending a million bucks on a lousy goalie.
The CH will be Alex Auld's eighth NHL sweater, his seventh in the last four years. When a goalie can't hold a backup spot for more than a season at a time, you know he's destined for a career as an afterthought. This signing is fine (if overpriced by about a third) if you've got a starting goalie who plays seventy-plus games a year and has proven his ability to handle the workload and to bring his best every night. It's maybe not such a great idea when you have a designated number-one goaltender who has never played more than 52 games in a season and has had both extraordinary bad luck and difficulties dealing with failure.
There's no doubt now, if there had ever been any, that Carey Price is the unquestioned number-one. He will have no choice but to play the lion's share of the games, because Auld is not good enough to steal his job. There will be no "veteran mentor" thing happening, because Auld isn't good enough to teach Price much of anything, especially about being a starting goalie in a city like Montreal. And the Habs had better hope Price doesn't get hurt for any length of time, or they'll be no better off than the Flyers or Senators in nets.
More importantly, however, the Habs have to hope Price is really ready and able to take on the role and the workload management has definitively handed to him. Signing Auld has effectively removed Price's safety net, and, for a team that has no guarantee of being in the playoffs, it's placing a huge burden of responsibility on Price. His failure doesn't bear consideration.
I join all Canadiens fans in wishing Carey Price the best. The team will live or die with him now as it never has had to do before. It'll be a defining year for the guy who'll now be tending the Habs net virtually by himself.