The goaltending situation surrounding the St. Louis Blues is a mighty intriguing one, for a variety of reasons. In 2011-12, their goaltending duo of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot were the main reason for their surge to the top of the Western Conference.
In 2013, however, that wasn’t the case. Halak failed to stay healthy and saw a major decline in his level of play because of that, posting a save percentage under .900. Brian Elliot seemed to realize the fact that he is, indeed, Brian Elliot, and saw a major regression as well.
The goaltender that has been grabbing headlines throughout the offseason is that of Halak. There were rumors of Halak not putting in the effort during the season, and reportedly had a spat, to some degree, with coach Ken Hitchcock over his playing time.
Heading into the last season of his deal, it appears that Halak could very well be on the outs with the St. Louis Blues, for a couple of different reasons. First of all, the guy just can’t stay healthy. He’s capable of reaching a high level, but can’t stay on the ice long enough for it to mean much.
Despite his health woes, he’ll still be expensive to maintain. Sure, the cap situation looks good for the Blues right now, but they still have to sign Alex Pietrangelo, giving them several high priced players on their roster. If either one is going to be back next season, Elliot is certainly the most cost effective.
Then there’s the matter of Jake Allen. Though he’ll likely be bound for the minors again for most of 2013-14, he showed flashes of being a very good starting goaltender. He’s going to see an increased opportunity, when his deal turns into a one-way pact in 2014-15. Which is perhaps the largest indicator of all that at least one of Halak or Elliot will be gone.
It may not happen until next summer, and it may be as anti-climactic as him leaving in free agency, but it’s hard to see Jaroslav Halak returning to the Blues next season. There are simply too many factors working against him, and he’ll likely be sporting a new sweater in the near future.