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Jaroslav Halak (right) of the St. Louis Blues against Michael Ryder of the Dallas Stars.
Before sustaining a groin injury at the start of February, Jaroslav Halak and his 6-1 St. Louis Blues were doing pretty well.
He had a 3-0 record and, even though his .889 save percentage left something to be desired, it’s safe to say he has, nonetheless, solidified the starter’s position ahead of Brian Elliott (.849 save percentage and five straight losses).
It’s arguably a position he would never have found himself in had he stayed a Hab, having to wrest the starter’s job away from golden boy Carey Price.
So, following Halak’s otherworldly playoff performance in 2010, in which he secured series victories over the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, the Habs did the only logical thing: They dealt him at their first opportunity to the Blues for two unproven forwards.
One of those was, of course, Eller, who has unfortunately yet to establish himself to the same degree as Halak in the National Hockey League. The other? Ian Schultz, a grinder in the mold of Chris Neil with so many more discipline issues he’s had trouble staying in the ECHL.
It was clear from the get-go that the Habs had great expectations for Eller at least, because the alternative, trading a capable No. 1 goalie for two spare parts, would only have meant then-general manager Pierre Gauthier didn’t know what he was doing. And, really, what are the chances of that?
Thankfully, Price has become a force in the crease for the Habs, proving the Habs right to a certain extent. However, the fact remains that, unless Eller becomes one in front of him, they could and should have gotten so much more for Halak.
It may not be the most politically correct motive out there, but trading away the 23-year-old now would only be an admission of guilt on the part of the proud franchise that management didn’t do its due diligence back then, and no one needs that kind of distraction.