NHL Trade Rumors: St. Louis Blues Would Regret Dealing Jaroslav Halak
Can we just kill the talks now?
Brian Elliott may be the lone All-Star this year from the Blues and currently has better season totals, but that doesn't warrant giving Halak the slip and dealing him to New Jersey, Toronto or anywhere else for that matter.
I'm not ranting as a fan. Player experience, contracts and Halak's hot hand all tell us the Blues would regret any deal involving the "Halak-ness Monster."
That nickname alone should end this discussion, but let's look at both Elliott's and Halak's statistics and then the reasons St. Louis has to keep the Slovakian.
Brian Elliott: 15-5-1, 1.68 GAA, 9.37 SV percentage, 5 SO
Jaroslav Halak: 12-7-5, 2.08 GAA, 9.18 SV percentage, 3 SO
Although both Elliott and Halak are 26 years old and were drafted in the same year (2003), Halak has had a much better career and actually has postseason experience. The St. Louis Blues traded for him after he stole the job from star Carey Price and led Montreal to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2010.
Who should St. Louis Trade?
Brian Elliott also saw the postseason that year with Ottawa. In four games, Elliott won just once and gave up over four goals per contest.
The Blues are seemingly a lock for the playoffs. Why take the chance with Elliott alone when Halak has proven himself as a force?
Brian Elliott is now locked up for the next two years after signing an extension on January 18th. Some might assume that this is a hint Halak is on the move. It isn't.
The Blues also signed Halak to a four-year, $15 million deal after his arrival before even seeing the ice with St. Louis. If he continues this level of play, it would be foolish not to retain him for the deal's last two years.
Don't believe me?
General manager Doug Armstrong seemed pretty excited having both Jaro and Elliott locked up until 2014.
Brian Elliott started the season on fire, but it looks like it is wearing off. He has given up three goals in three of his last four games. His recent shutout of Colorado came on a night St. Louis dominated all around and allowed just 15 total shots.
If that is the true Brian Elliott as we've seen all year, the Blues would have trouble scoring nearly four goals a game against the league's best. The extension would then be regrettable, having both Ben Bishop and Jake Allen waiting in Peoria.
Halak, on the other hand, is on fire and was most spectacular Monday night against Dallas. He recorded his third shutout of the season and out-dueled an impressive Kari Lehtonen. Since the hiring of guru Ken Hitchcock, Halak's game has progressed as expected, and he now looks like Hitch's favorite.
This is the Jaroslav Halak that St. Louis has been waiting to see.
Why trade the hot goaltender while battling two division rivals and Vancouver to stay atop the West?
Why trade either one?
The combination of the two is better than if the team dealt either one. The "Halak-ness Monster" is good, but a two-headed monster is even more frustrating for opponents.
I don't see a trade happening. The Blues have a surplus of forwards with the likes of Alex Steen and Andy McDonald returning. There are no clear holes in this team to fill unless a top scorer is available, and that continues to be a mystery until the deadline gets closer. Keeping both goalies will bring the highest reward.
The talks should be cut here. Moving Halak is a possibility, but it is one that the Blues would regret.
Keep Halak. Keep Elliott. Enjoy the ride, St. Louis.
Steven Conklin is a contributing writer for the Bleacher Report and a student at the University of Central Missouri. Any comments, questions or suggestions are more than welcome.
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