Brian Elliott is gone, folks. The St. Louis Blues traded him to Calgary for the 35th pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. There may be more to it but that’s the first cut of the steak as I type.
Before we blow shit up and whine to the moon and back before drowning in our PBR can pile, let’s a great fucking run in the net for Kid Ells. He was quietly a maverick for four seasons before he took over the NHL in January this year. Elliott helped preserve Ken Hitchcock’s job and carried the Blues deep into the playoffs like Liam Neeson wearing a cool goalie mask in The Grey.
He came to the Blues in 2011-12 and didn’t land with a lot of press. He had to bang shoulders with Jaro Halak, Ryan Miller, and Jake Allen throughout his five seasons in The Lou but in the end, he put together some of the best numbers of all time.
He won 104 games and saved 92 percent of his shots while posting a stubborn 2.01 goals against average. He did all of this for modest money and little NHL notoriety. Elliott was always the quiet one who just wanted to do his job. He had #1 skills and rarely got to be the man in net for the Blues unless an injury occurred.
He leaves the Blues to captain the Flames net and make them better instantly. It’s sad as shit but I understand the move. It clears 2.5 million from the cap this year and fires up the next phase of this team’s era in net. Elliott more than likely wasn’t going to be re-signed after next season and what if he got hurt or had a lesser season.
Doug Armstrong didn’t take that risk and got a high second pick for the kid formerly known as the toughest Moose in the Midwest. He is 31 years old and won’t get an extension this winter so the logic there.
The Blues don’t need to go out and sign a big name goalie to back up Allen. Jake proved he can handle the starting job just fine before The Elliott Empire Strikes Back phase took off in January. He is more than capable. This will make the kids down on the farm in Jordan Bennington and Phoenix Copley decide who can ascend to the backup role. The Blues will just get younger in net and kickstart the future in net.
With Mike Yeo taking over in 2017-18, this isn’t a surprising move. As nice as having two great goalies can be, there is a constant identity crisis in your net at one of the most important positions. The Blues will be forced to answer some uncomfortable but needed questions in this transition season. It will be interesting.
It won’t be easy watching Elliott walk away. He collected 25 shutout and a quality save percentage of 65 percent(60 is good) over his seasons in St. Louis. He rose to the occasion every time in the playoffs and helped the Blues finally absolve the Blackhawks conundrum this spring. Fans will never forget that. The chants of Moose will live on.
It’s just the future is riding into town a lot faster than some are comfortable with. It’s okay to be mad about this deal. The Blues traded one of the best goalies in their franchise history for a kid who hasn’t even been selected yet. It will take some time.
For now, celebrate the greatness that Elliott provided while chugging bourbon. The draft and free agency period is only beginning. As Sam Cooke once said, “Change gonna come. Oh yes it is.”