Blues Nominate Brian Elliott For Masterton Trophy

USA TODAY Sports

The Blues have nominated their current goalie du jour for the Masterton Trophy, which is given to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Brian Elliott is nothing if not a fighter. After a decent start to his career with the Ottawa Senators in 2008-2009, in which he went 16-8-3 with a 2.77 GAA and a .902 SV%, and an better second season, Elliott's numbers took a dip and kept dipping. At the time of the trade deadline in 2011, Elliott's GAA with the Sens had reached a 3.19 and it fluffed up to a 3.83 with the Colorado Avalanche to finish that season. Playing on two very poor teams had hurt his value on the open market, so the Blues signed him at a reasonable price as a backup to Jaroslav Halak.

Backup no more, Elliott shared last year's Jennings Trophy with Halak as the tandem allowing the fewest goals in the NHL. Benficiaries of Ken Hitchcock's system, Elliott and Halak both posted career years, With Ells having a teeny 1.58 GAA and a league best .940 SV%.

This season initially was not kind to Elliott. Before his excellent April, he struggled terribly. Before he wound up in the pressbox in mid-February, Elliott was 3-5-1 with a 3.57 GAA and a .850 save percentage. Jake Allen was called up, Elliott went to the pressbox, and then he went to Peoria to do a reconditioning stint with the Rivermen. He gave up three goals in his first game, then pitched a shutout the next. He hasn't looked back since.

An injury to Halak gave Elliott a chance to start, and start he has. In April he's gone 8-2-0 with a 1.37 GAA and a .947 GAA, which has lowered his numbers to having a 2.48 GAA and a .901 save percentage. The numbers would be even better if the Blues would have played worth a damn last night.

The local pro writers chapter of the Professional Writers Association has nominated Elliott for the Masterton Trophy, and I can't think of a more worthy candidate. He had every chance to quit this season, accept his fate as a victim of the waiver wire, and toil away in the AHL. A goalie turnaround mid-season of this nature is absolutely unheard of and speaks volumes to Elliott's work ethic, personal dedication, and dedication to the team.

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