Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has won the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication.

The league declared Price as the winner of the Masterton on Friday night before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference last between the consecutive reigning champ Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers. Price backstopped the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Final a year prior to losing to Tampa Bay.

Price didn’t play between Game 5 of the 2021 final in July and April with about fourteen days left in the 2021-22 regular season. In the wake of going through knee surgery last summer, he entered the NHL/NHL Players’ Association joint player assistance program in October and said not long after it was to help a substance issue he created.

“Over the last few years I have let myself get to a very dark place and I didn’t have the tools to cope with that struggle,” Price said in a statement in November. “Things had reached a point that I realized I needed to prioritize my health for both myself and for my family. Asking for help when you need it is what we encourage our kids to do. And it was what I needed to do.”

Notwithstanding Montreal being close to the lower part of the league standings, Price worked his direction back and made his season debut April 15. He played five games, losing his initial four preceding making 37 recoveries in a 10-2 triumph in Montreal’s season finale.

“It means everything to us,” forward Cole Caufield said at the time about Price getting the win. “He’s the backbone of our team, he’s the guy you want to play for. To have him in the room every day, it was just something special and you just feel the energy he brings no matter if he’s excited or not.”

Price’s future is questionable. He turns 35 in August and in spite of having four years left on his agreement at $31.25 million, there’s a real chance the British Columbia native leaves hockey.

Veterans Patrick Marleau and Zdeno Chara were different finalists for the Masterton as voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Marleau reported his retirement last month following a 23-year career, and Chara could likewise drape up his skates at age 45.

Topics #Bill Masterton Memorial #Bill Masterton Memorial prize #Carey Price #Montreal Canadiens #Montreal Canadiens goaltender