Price of Canadiens wins Masterton Trophy for perseverance

Goalie returned after having knee surgery, entering player assistance program for substance use

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens won the Masterton Trophy on Friday as the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Price had offseason knee surgery that was expected to keep him sidelined 10-12 weeks. The 34-year-old goalie experienced setbacks that had him question whether his playing career was over. He also entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program in October for substance use.

“There’s obstacles in life that will always challenge you,” Price said. “And I think having the ability to overcome those and keep things in perspective and keep moving forward is something that we should all be teaching our children and loved ones.” 

Montreal (22-49-11) finished last in the NHL standings one season after making the Stanley Cup Final.

Carey Price awarded Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

The local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA) submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, and the top three vote-getters — Price, New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara and Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes — were designated as finalists. A $2,500 grant from the PHWA is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minnesota, in the name of the Masterton Trophy winner.

“I’d like to first acknowledge ‘Big Z,’ Kevin, and all the other nominees from each team … the resilience and dedication in life and hockey,” Price said. “I’d like to thank the Montreal Canadiens organization, the training staff and my teammates.

“… It’s definitely a special honor for me. I’m very grateful to receive this award. Looking at some of the past players that have received this is definitely a special list. There are a lot of players on there that I have a ton of respect for, and I’m very grateful to be a part of that.”

Price played five games this season, his first April 15. He made 37 saves in a 10-2 win against the Florida Panthers in Montreal’s final game of the season April 29. It was his 700th NHL start.

“It was just an exceptional day for myself,” Price said the day after that game. “I had a great sleep. It was just an A-plus day. If it is [my final game], then that would be a great way to do it.”

Price is the sixth Canadiens player to win the award and the first since forward Max Pacioretty in 2011-12. He is the first goalie to win the award since Robin Lehner with the Islanders in 2018-19.

“Friends, you’ve all shown a tremendous amount of support throughout the season and career, and I’ve got to thank most importantly my family because without their support, this would be a lot more difficult,” Price said. “I’m very grateful to have all these people in my life and I just like to say thank you again.

“… Over the course of a decade-plus, I’ve been very fortunate to be able to play this game at the level that I have been. Everyone who’s had extended careers in this league knows how difficult it is to stay here, and I’m just very thankful for every opportunity that I’ve gotten.” staff writer William Douglas contributed to this report

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