Before being traded to Washington before the NHL deadline, goaltender Cristobal Huet was only 2-4-0 with the Canadiens in his last six games. ((Ian Barrett/Canadian Press) )

It appears the Montreal Canadiens will forge ahead with rookie Carey Price as their starting goaltender.

The Canadiens traded netminder Cristobal Huet to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday for a second-round draft pick in 2009.

Huet and Price had shared most of the starts in goal this season.

Huet is making $2.75 million US and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"I expected the unexpected, but I was shocked," said Huet, who met with the media at the Bell Centre before heading to Washington.

"I had three great years here," he added.

"It was a lot of fun. I can't say anything bad. I would love to have finished the job here, but it was a little difficult. I didn't play well enough the last three weeks, so I guess I didn't help my cause. Now I have a chance to join another team and try to help them jump into the playoffs."

The deal took many by surprise, but Huet's agent, Stephen Bartlett, told Hockey Night In Canada Radio he expected his client to be dealt. 

"I felt the silence was sort of deafening with the fact that we have had no communication or discussions with Montreal about any kind of extension for Cristobal," Bartlett said.

"So with that scenario I just sort of had a feeling that perhaps it was coming."

Cristobal got emotional: agent

Barlett said Huet was caught off guard when he learned he was going to Washington.

"I think he was more surprised than I was," said Barlett. "I was on a flight when the trade went down. I got off and had a text message from my son, who works for me, saying that he had been traded. I called Cristobal right away and I think he was taking it a little more emotionally [than me]."

While Huet carries a 21-12-6 record with a 2.49 goals-against average and .916 save percentage heading to Washington, he struggled recently — going 2-4-0 with a 4.31 GAA in his last six NHL games.

Price, 20, is 12-9-3 heading into Tuesday's game against the Atlanta Thrashers. He led the Hamilton Bulldogs to the AHL title last spring.

Montreal is in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 75 points, and now has one of the youngest goalie tandems in the NHL.

With Huet suiting up for Washington, the Canadiens recalled 22-year-old netminder Jaroslav Halak from the Bulldogs to be Price's backup.