The St. Louis Blues have started off the 2013-14 season as most had expected them to. Their off to a strong start and look like legitimate Stanley Cup contenders out of the Western Conference. There’s still a long way to go, though, and this is a team that has had some playoff demons in the last couple of years that they’ll need to fight off.
While they are a very serious contender out of the West, one of the storylines that will follow this team throughout the season is their situation in goal. They came into the season with the same duo of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott, despite the fact that the pair was part of the reason they disappointed last year.
Halak is off to a fine start. As long as he can stay healthy, which has been a major issue for him over the course of his career, the Blues have one of the better starters you’ll find anywhere. Elliott is a different story. After a career year a couple of years ago, he’s regressed back into the goaltender he’s expected to be.
Despite his regression, Elliott does still represent one of the better no. 2 goaltenders in the league. With Jake Allen waiting in the wings, the Blues would be wise to explore a trade of Elliott sooner rather than later. They’ll just have to hope prospective teams don’t look at his numbers from this season, or from last.
Elliott has only made one start this season, and came in as relief in his only other appearance. The sample size for him this year is virtually nothing. Teams may want to see more action out of him before moving on a potential trade. There are teams out there looking for backup goaltending help, or even a guy to split time, meaning the Blues will have options.
However, the return for a guy like Elliott isn’t going to be tremendous. He’s a no. 2 goaltender to begin with, and not a young one with high upside like Jonathan Bernier. He’ll fetch some depth, or perhaps a prospect or draft picks, but nothing significant. Nonetheless, he’s a free agent after this year and surely won’t be back, especially with Allen ready to get into the mix.
It’s nearly impossible to envision a scenario where Brian Elliott is still a member of the St. Louis Blues by the time the 2014-15 season rolls around. Of course, in order to trade him, they need his stock to come up quite a bit, which might mean more action for him as the season wears on.