21. Carey Price Becomes A Star
Believe it or not, at the beginning of the last NHL season, Carey Price was not a lock for Team Canada, never mind the starting role he earned on his way to a Gold Medal at the Sochi Olympics.
It has always been a rocky road with Price. He emerged over Cristobal Huet as a rookie, and then was pushed by Jaroslav Halak in a goaltending controversy that for some reason still has some fans arguing.
Price, during the Canadiens 2010 playoff run was a backup. Sitting on the bench while fans complained that he was a bust and not deserving of the starting role over Halak. When Halak was traded for Lars Eller, people did not think that Price was or ever would be good enough to lead the Canadiens.
Through the season, the Olympics and the playoffs, Price no longer had those worries. He played them out of existence. Price, the player who previously could not win the big game, won two playoff series, a Gold medal and has been dominant with few exceptions.
His injury in the Eastern Conference final derailed the Canadiens hopes. I used to cringe in big games when a shot went towards the net. That doesn’t happen anymore.
You could say that Price is now the best goaltender in the NHL and be right. He’s definitely in the top five, but I think he’s the top guy. There’s no more potential caveat necessary with Price. He’s there now and his emergence with the Canadiens and Team Canada is one of the top moments in Montreal sports this year.