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Armstrong feels Blues can keep Halak, Elliott and Allen

Jul 9, 2013, 2:31 PM EDT

halak elliott

The Blues have something of a conundrum in goal with three guys — Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliott and Jake Allen — all capable of playing at the NHL level.

Some would suggest one of them has to go, but Blues GM Doug Armstrong thinks otherwise.

NHL.com’s Lou Korac reports Armstrong “doesn’t feel like he has to trade any of the team’s three goalies,” even though, over the weekend, he alluded to potentially moving some pieces in order to sign RFAs Alex Pietrangelo and Chris Stewart — all while staying under the $64.3 million salary cap ceiling (which the Blues are $9 million away from).

“I think we’re going to be able to get everyone under the umbrella,” general manager Doug Armstrong said, per the Post-Dispatch, “and if need be, we have very valuable pieces — if we have to move players, that’s not going to be an issue finding a home for them.”

It’s possible one of those pieces could be Halak, who’s been the subject of trade rumors already. Another could be Allen, the 22-year-old RFA that, like Pietrangelo and Stewart, still needs a new deal — and could be subjected to an offer sheet.

Folks are high on the former QMJHL Goalie of the Year, and for good reason.

The Blues took Allen with the 34th overall pick at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, and he was rushed into action last season thanks to Halak’s injuries and ineffective play from Elliott.

Allen responded well, posting a 9-4-0 record with a .905 save percentage and 2.46 GAA, earning a spot on the NHL’s All-Rookie team — so it’s easy to see why St. Louis would be hesitant to trade him.

What’s more, Halak and Elliott will be UFAs next summer, and both have question marks about their ability to 1) be the clear-cut No. 1 and 2) carry that job into the future.

Halak has been an injury nightmare since coming over from Montreal, and Elliott has struggled with consistency.

When on their games, however, the pair can be a tremendous combination.

Halak and Elliott teamed to win the Jennings Trophy in 2011-12, allowing a league-low 165 goals while tying a modern record for shutouts in a season, with 15.

This is probably why Armstrong feels he can stand pat.

If the Blues return with Halak and Elliott next season, Allen can be dispatched to the American League, where he’d be the clear-cut No. 1 and could play plenty of games (he’s never appeared in more than 47 in a single professional season.)

Of course, St. Louis needs to get him signed first.

  1. 22bju - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    How??

    This is why I’m not a GM. Can’t figure out how you sign everyone and stay under the cap?

  2. pensman29 - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    I guess he would offer Allen a 2 way deal then send him to the minors so that clears up his cap hit but signing Alex and Chris will be hard I would see a 5 mill and 3 mill respectively or Stewart gets traded

  3. 19to77 - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    As odd as it sounds to try to keep three goalies, letting Allen season himself a little more in the AHL is probably wise. You can’t rush goalie development. Ask Steve Mason. Having Halak under contract for one more year means they can let Allen play starter in the AHL and then permanently promote him in 2014-15.

    Of course, it could also just be standard GM smoke and mirrors before a trade is announced.

  4. LampyB - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    Sure keeping Allen and placing him in the minors is a good idea, but Halak is already pissed about the situation and to his credit he didnt even get much of a chance to prove himself last year. A lot of his losses came from a poor performance in front of him, and they just yanked him out for Allen. He was in and out all year, no consistency and hes upset with management. Its like the schneider luongo situation with harder feelings…def not good for the teams confidence, or Halaks confidence. He needs to be moved for a fresh start.

    • bcisleman - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:31 AM

      Halak’s grievance is one issue. His UFA status in 2014 and the Pietrangelo and Stewart situations are the others.

      Pietrangelo will surely want Letang money to stay. That means Armstrong will have to move Stewart or Halak.

      Unless Halak is made the unquestioned #1 G in the 2013-14 season, he will surely walk in 2014. Stewart, for whom the Blues surrendered their other franchise D, could be kept in the fold for several years. Who would you trade?

      As I have written elsewhere, I believe Armstrong and Garth Snow are playing a game of chicken. I believe Halak will be an Islander.

  5. bvwfaceoff - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    Backes
    Roy
    Stewart
    Perron
    Berglund
    Oshie
    Steen
    Lapierre
    Sobotka
    Porter
    Cracknell
    Reaves
    Tarasenko
    Jaskin
    Schwartz

    thats 15 forwards for 12 spots. Tarasenko, Jaskin, and Schwartz all need to play in order to develop. Granted Steen and Oshie will miss significant time due to injury, but you gotta figure the Blues need to unload at least one forward.

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