Jaroslav Halak helped carry the Slovakian U-18 team to a silver medal in 2003, was named the top goalie in the tournament. Made the cross over to North America to play in the QMJHL for Lewiston in 2004-05. Halak was the starter for Team Slovakia's U-20 WJC team in 2004 and 2005.
2004-05: Halak spent time at both the junior and AHL levels in 2004-05. In a league known for high-powered offense, Halak shone for the QMJHL Lewiston Maineiacs, leading the squad into the playoffs where they ran into the high-powered Rimouski Oceanic, who was on its way to a Memorial Cup runner-up position. He ended the season with 24 wins against 17 losses, and posted an impressive 2.78 GAA and .913 save percentage in his first year with the QMJHL squad. When Lewiston was knocked out of the playoffs, Halak was able to join the Bulldogs and work out with the squad.
2005-06: Halak made the jump from junior to the Canadiens’ ECHL affiliate in Long Beach, where he ranked second in the league in goals against average and led the league in save percentage. After battling through some injuries that stunted his early development, he was called up to the Bulldogs and made a favorable impression on the club.
2006-07: He posted impressive numbers at the AHL level, where he led the league in goals against average, was second in save percentage, and a total of six shutouts in 28 games. Halak earned accolades as goaltender of the month in November and was a starter for the Planet USA All-Star team. He earned a recall to Montreal, where he played a huge role in the Canadiens' late-season surge for a playoff spot.
2007-08: While playing between the pipes in Hamilton (AHL), Halak played behind Carey Price and Cristobal Huet in Montreal, appearing in six games for the Canadiens during the regular season. He posted one shutout with the Habs and finished with a 2.11 goals against average and a .934 save percentage. In Hamilton, Halak posted two shutout, a 2.10 goals against average and a .929 save percentage in 28 games with the club. He also saw action in two playoff games with Montreal, playing a total of 77 minutes.
Halak has the makeup and desire to be a number-one goaltender and will push Price for starts in the NHL. He plays a solid positional game and makes several saves thanks to his ability to avoid fundamental mistakes.