Jaroslav Halak Is Stealing Carey Price's Job

Michael ClineSenior Analyst IFebruary 22, 2009

In the 2003 NHL Draft, Jaroslav Halak was the 271st pick in the 9th round by the Montreal Canadiens.

In the 2005 NHL Draft, Carey Price was the 5th pick in the 1st round by the Montreal Canadiens.

Two goalies within two years.

One, an average player taken as a backup with little hope of being the No. 1 guy in the net for a team such as the Habs.

The other a poster boy. A goalie to build the team around and win the prestigious Stanley Cup.

But as the 2008-2009 season continues to unfold, the certainty of those drafting intentions begin to look a little muddled.

Carey Price is fluttering.

In his last 10 games, Price has given up 35 goals, not including the shootout against the Capitals. His save percentage is a dismal 87.

On top of his poor play, his name continues to show up in the press concerning behavioral issues and other things you don't want to read about in the waning moments of a season where you're in danger of missing the playoffs.

Halak, on the other hand, continues to impress.

In Halak's last 10 games, he's given up 33 goals with a save percentage of 90.

Last night against the Ottawa Senators, Halak stopped an astounding 44 shots and the Canadiens walked out of Bell Centre with their first win in over a week.

Now we all know that both of those save percentages are far below the leaders in the NHL.  The top five goalies in the league all average around the 93 percent mark. And speaking of rankings, Halak and Price are ranked at 30th and 31st respectfully.

But something is to be said about Jaroslav Halak's performance during Price's continued journey to "find himself".

Halak has heard opportunity knock, and he's running to the door.

But is it possible?

Is it possible for a guy picked 271st in the 9th round of the draft to steal the job from a player who was picked 5th overall?

Yes. It's happened before and it can happen again.

In Halak's last 10 games, he's won six of them. In Price's last 10 games, he's won two of them.

Who do you want in the net? The guy with the big contract who was suppose to be great, or the guy bringing the results.

Among all the statistics and numbers, the only ones that really matter are the ones in the "Win" column.

If Jaroslav Halak continues to provide the Canadiens with opportunities to win games, good stats or not, Coach Carbonneau will have no choice but to play him ahead of Carey Price.

And might I mention, this might be exactly what this team needs.

If Halak thinks he has a chance of winning the starting job, he'll play harder to get it, thus bringing better results and more wins.

If Price thinks he has a chance of losing the starting job, he'll play harder to keep it, thus bringing better results and more wins.

See the pattern?

So I say, let the games begin! And let the best man win.