HabsWorld.net -- 

The Habs have found their backup for Carey Price for the next 2 seasons,
signing G Peter Budaj, formerly of the Colorado Avalanche.  The deal is
worth $2.3 million in total; he will earn $1.1 million in 2011-12 and $1.2
million in 2012-13.  Budaj has spent his entire 6 year career with the
Avalanche after being a 2nd round pick (63rd overall) back in 2001.

Budaj, who turns 29 in September, struggled last season with Colorado,
posting a 15-21-4 record with a 3.20 GAA and a .895 SV% in 45 games with 1
shutout.  His game total likely endeared him to the Habs as he has averaged
just over 40 appearances per season in the NHL, providing them with a bit more
of a safety blanket if Price were to go down with an injury.

He also has experience on the international stage as he has represented the
Slovaks in a pair of World Championships, plus a pair of Olympics (though he
didn’t play in 2010).  In the 2009-10 World Championships, he was named one
of Slovakia’s top-3 players.  He also has been a member of a pair of World
Junior squads and one World Cup team. 

The contract represents a brief paycut for the netminder as he made $1.25
million in each of the past two seasons.  In our UFA
, we had Budaj pegged to get between $1.2 and $1.6 million.  The
Habs now have roughly $51.5 million committed to next season’s payroll which
includes 10 forwards, 6 defencemen, plus the 2 goalies.  Josh Gorges and
Ryan White remain the lone RFA’s for Pierre Gauthier to sign which means there
is still some room to add another free agent.

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