Carey Price for Prime Minister...or Rookie of the Year At Least

Chris BouthillierSenior Analyst IMarch 19, 2008

This season we've been witnessing stellar play from rookies such as Nicklas Backstrom, Andrew Cogliano, and Blackhawk-duo Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

But everybody seems to be over-looking the number one candidate to walk away with the freshman hardware at this June's NHL Awards. No, it's not Bob Barker, but the Price is right.

With all the talk about how calm and poise this young goaltender is, it's hard to believe he is competing for the Calder Trophy. At just 20 years of age, he has gained the confidence of the entire province of Quebec. Price's ability to stop pucks, prevent rebounds and read plays even convinced general manager Bob Gainey to trade away Cristobal Huet to make Price the consensus number one down the stretch.

Not to mention, he does take up a whole lot of net.

Standing 6'3" and tipping the scale at 226 pounds, there's no question on why shooters can't seem to find any twine behind the native of Vancouver, B.C. His performance in goal this season have hockey analysts comparing him to ex-Canadiens' goalies Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy, who both won the Stanley Cup in their first seasons.

Even at the young age of 20, Carey Price has a couple bright spots on his list of credentials. He backstopped the Canadian World Junior squad to a third-straight U-20 Championship, and also won the AHL's Calder Cup last spring with the Hamilton Bulldogs after being called up once his major junior team was knocked out of the playoffs.

The way Price handles situations on and off the ice are making people forget the fact that he is still in the mix for Rookie of the Year. Goaltenders Mike Smith (TB) and Josh Harding (MIN) are similar to Price on paper, but not in the intangebles. Both Smith and Harding have had to work their way up the ladder, going back and forth from the NHL to the minors countless times.

Altogether, the Montreal Canadiens have put together an astonishing record this season. They currently sit atop the Northeast Division, and second in the East behind the New Jersey Devils. Price, along with numerous new faces have been role players for the Habs in their quest for their first Cup since 1993.

Many say that his play is a sign for things to come for the youngster. If that's the case, Canadiens' fans should be happy for quite a long time.