Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier has saved himself a major headache as the team announced Thursday that they have signed restricted free agent goaltender Carey Price to a two-year contract. The deal is worth $5.5 million, with Price set to earn $2.5 million this season, and $3 million in 2011-12.
"We are extremely happy that Carey has agreed to pursue his career with the Canadiens," Gauthier said in a statement. "Carey is a key member of our Club. He has proven that he has what it takes to be a good goaltender in the league, and we are confident he will perform to the best of his abilities for years to come in a Canadiens uniform."
The 23-year old Price was anointed the Canadiens' starting goaltender earlier this summer when playoff hero Jaroslav Halak was traded to the St. Louis Blues for prospects Lars Eller and Ian Schultz.
It took much longer than the Canadiens anticipated to get Price to sign on the dotted line, which led to a great deal of tension in La Belle Province. One report that was later refuted stated that Price was ready to "go on strike" if he did not receive a $3 million per season offer from the Canadiens.
In 41 games last season, Price posted a 13-20-5 record with a 2.77 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. He also appeared in four playoff games for the Habs.
The Canadiens have a great deal of faith in Price's pedigree as he was the first player in hockey history to be named Canadian Hockey League Goaltender of the Year, World Junior Championship Tournament MVP in Canada's 2007 gold medal run, and win the AHL Playoff Most Valuable Player Trophy in helping the Hamilton Bulldogs capture the Calder Cup, all in the same year.
A native of Williams Lake, BC, Price was selected in the first round, fifth overall by the Canadiens at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.