Canadiens GM Bob Gainey says the team's future in goal lies with one or both of Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak.

Former goaltenders Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy led the Montreal Canadiens to Stanley Cup championships in their rookie seasons of 1971 and 1986.

Can 20-year-old Carey Price pull off similar magic this year? General manager Bob Gainey is willing to take the chance.

Gainey dealt starting goalie Cristobal Huet to Washington ahead of Tuesday's NHL trade deadline in exchange for the Capitals' 2009 second-round draft pick (previously acquired from Anaheim).

It's a move that will leave Price and Jaroslav Halak as Montreal's netminding tandem to open the post-season. Neither has played a minute of action in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"This is a risk-reward that we, I, have decided to take," Gainey said at his news briefing after the deadline had passed. "They're not [playoff]experienced but they are quality players … It was a very clear and distinct decision to allow our goaltending net to be available to what we feel are two premier young goalies.

"We definitely see our future in goal being with one of these two goalies, and maybe both of them in some tandem aspect.

"Will they develop like Andrei Kostitsyn has this year? Like Tomas Plekanec has this year? That's the risk."

Left-winger Kostitsyn has 40 points in 59 games for Montreal, while centre Plekanec has 54 points.

Price for Hossa high

Later on Tuesday, Gainey was unsuccessful in acquiring right-winger Marian Hossa, considered the top prize on deadline day, from the Atlanta Thrashers.

Instead, the right-winger was shipped to the Pittsburgh Penguins along with left-winger Pascal Dupuis for forwards Colby Armstrong and Erik Christensen, prospect Angelo Esposito, and a first-round draft pick.

It was believed Montreal was a front-runner for the speedy Slovak along with the Ottawa Senators, Hossa's former club.

While the initial asking price Tuesday was reportedly a roster player, prospect and first-round pick, it apparently was raised as the day unfolded.

At one point, Gainey said, Atlanta GM Don Waddell asked him for four elements and "three of them are skating in our game [Tuesday] night."

"We couldn't give them what they asked us for midday today," Gainey said.

"We made them a [counter] offer with less elements involved and they made their decision."

As for Price, he enters Tuesday's home game against the Thrashers with a 12-9-3 record, 2.83 goals-against average and .909 save percentage in 26 games this season.

A year ago, Gainey moved him from the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League to the Canadiens' American Hockey League affiliate in Hamilton. The Vancouver native went on to lead the Bulldogs to the Calder Cup title, posting a 2.06 GAA and .936 save percentage in 22 playoff contests.

Halak, 22, has appeared in 28 games for Hamilton this season, going 15-10-2 with a 2.10 GAA.

The Habs spent a lot of this season evaluating whether or not Huet, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, would be their No. 1 puckstopper long-term, Gainey said.

He added that the topic of extending Huet's contract beyond this season was never discussed, thus paving the way for Tuesday's move.

Since last October, Huet has won 21 of 39 games with a 2.49 GAA but has struggled of late — going 2-4-0 with a 4.31 GAA in his last six NHL games.

The Canadiens entered Tuesday's action in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a 33-21-9 record for 75 points, four behind the conference-leading New Jersey Devils.