Okay, I know that everybody is still hung up on who the better blues goaltender is: Jaroslav Halak or Brian Elliott. It’s a valid question, but one that probably needs to be laid to rest seeing as how the Blues consider both of their goaltenders to be starters. Sure, there was the question mark of Elliott in the playoffs, but when you put a guy in to start six games in a row when he’s never been under that kind of pressure before… come on. It won’t end the way that you’d like for it to.
There was a reason for sustained questioning heading into last season, as Elliott had to fight for a spot coming into camp, and he had a terrible season the year before playing for Ottawa and Colorado (a 3.51 GAA and a .893 SV% is the opposite of good). I wasn’t particularly happy about the signing, though I am glad that he proved me wrong. This season, there is still worry, but the phrase “regression to the mean” should mean nothing until the season starts. Chances are good that Elliott will slip a little bit, and it’s to be expected. It’s also expected for Halak, returning from a high ankle sprain, to not be as stellar as last season. Why? Because last season was a record setting year that will probably never be repeated. I hate being a negative nelly, but look at the stats. A 1.89 goals against a game? How do you even hope to improve on that?
That’s not called being negative — that’s called being a realist. Another point of realism: last year showed that the Blues had two starting goaltenders. They’re 1A and 1B. Halak gets paid the starter salary of $4,250,000. Elliott will be getting the (high) back-up salary of $1,700,000. There’s your answer. Halak will probably start more games than Elliott. Hitchcock will continue riding the hot guy. He’ll probably continue playing whoever manages a shutout in back-to-back games. He knows what the team needs, and what the team’s doing.
The Blues have an excellent tandem, so can we please stop asking who the starter is?