TORONTO -- When Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price made a surprise visit to his former junior hockey team during the work stoppage last year, top 2013 draft-eligible prospect Eric Comrie was front and center.
Comrie, ranked No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American goaltenders, finished 20-14-3 with a 2.62 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and two shutouts in an injury-shortened season for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.
Though Comrie (6-foot, 167 pounds) is quick to credit Tri-City goalie coach Lyle Mast for much of his progress and success, he also was impressed with Price in the short visit he made with the team. The Canadiens goalie spent four seasons in Tri-City from 2003-07.
"He came to Tri-City and it was an unbelievable experience," Comrie told NHL.com. "He came back and practiced with us and shared his knowledge with me, and it was the most fun I've ever had in some time. Just being around him … he showed you how hard you have to work. It was amazing how humble he was."
Comrie's second season in Tri-City was cut short after 37 games; he had hip surgery in February. Though he's begun skating on his own, he cannot do so in full gear. He said he's feeling better than ever and expects to be ready by the start of next season.
"It was hard on me, but [the injury] was a learning experience; I'll get to the next level," he said. "I think the surgery will help me improve my game. I'm going to get stronger, more flexible and faster, and I'm going to take this as a boost in my game. That can only make me even better next year."
He was asked for the one thing that stood out the most during Price's visit.
"Just how relaxed he was," he said. "He was also such a nice guy. It just goes to show you how nice people are in the NHL and how respectful everyone is in the League is. To want to come back to your junior team and have conversations with 16-year-olds … that's something. It just shows you how much respect there is in the NHL."