Habs' Jaroslav Halak at centre of trade rumour

Dave Stubble, The Gazette

As seen by Allan Walsh, the agent of Canadiens goaltender Jaroslav Halak, Bob Gainey doesn’t have a problem in nets. Montreal’s general manager, Walsh says, has an issue.

And it’s a good issue, he suggests, that many NHL general managers would love to have.

No matter how the situation is defined, Gainey has two young goaltenders who both wish to be designated No. 1. They’ll tell you their common enemy is the puck, not each other, even as both crave the lion’s share of work while they skate toward restricted free agency at season’s end.

Since he was the Canadiens’ first pick in the 2005 entry draft, No. 5 overall, British Columbian Carey Price has been pegged the team’s goaltender of the future. At age 22, there’s nothing to suggest that has changed.

Two years earlier, Montreal used its 11th pick (ninth round, 271st overall) to claim Halak. Now 24, the Slovakian has played 73 games for the Canadiens since his first in 2006-07. That’s 38 fewer than the 121 of Price, who debuted with the Habs in 2007-08.

Walsh, a Montreal native based in Los Angeles with Octagon Hockey, has represented Halak since the goalie was 15. And how the young netminder has proven his mettle in recent days.

Yesterday, Halak was presented the Molson Cup as the Canadiens’ player of the month for December. That came within days of his being named to the Slovakian Olympic team and awarded the NHL’s first star of last week for a stunning .959 save percentage and 1.97 average in three consecutive road victories.