Similar paths for Price and Thomas

Carey Price and Tim Thomas have both had outstanding years so far. Getty Images

Tim Thomas has spent much of his career being doubted by his critics and struggling to earn respect for his play. Carey Price arrived in the NHL as a can't-miss prospect, drafted in the first round by a storied organization that has since given him every chance to succeed. What do these two goaltenders with widely divergent career paths have in common? They are both having a season of redemption in 2010-11.

It is not often that a Vezina winner finds himself relegated to a backup role less than a year after winning the trophy, but that is the situation Thomas found himself in last season when Tuukka Rask took over the top spot in Boston. After leading the league in goals-against average and save percentage during the regular season, the Finnish rookie played every minute of playoff action for Boston, leaving Thomas stewing on the bench.

Similarly, Jaroslav Halak's hot play in Montreal meant that Price received fewer and fewer starting assignments in Montreal as the season wore on. Like Thomas, Price had to sit and watch most of the playoffs as Halak starred in two upset series victories over Washington and Pittsburgh before the clock struck midnight for the overachieving Canadiens against Philadelphia.

Entering 2010-11, both goalies appeared to be an afterthought, but a closer look shows that we should have seen these rebounds coming.