We now have the details of the Jaroslav Halak trade. The Montreal Canadiens received Lars Eller and Ian Schultz in exchange for the Blues to get a head-start on restricted free agent negotiations with Halak. (The first place I saw the trade details was in a Tweet from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.)
Again, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that Halak is guaranteed to be a member of the St. Louis Blues next season. The team will still need to sign him to a contract. The difference is that they now hold his bargaining rights, so while other teams cannot (legally) negotiate with Halak until July 1, it’s within the Blues rights to get things done beginning today.
Hildymac of St. Louis Gametime provided a quick reaction regarding the trade.
In return, the Blues ship back Lars Eller and Ian Schultz. While I am upset to see a prospect like Eller go, the Blues were in dire need of a solid starting goaltender. Chris Mason put up solid numbers for us in net, but his propensity for softies and the occasional wonky move, he also became a lightning rod of derision. This gives St. Louis a solid starter in net, one of the best back-ups in the league, and a good and growing defensive corps.
Schultz was a third-round pick in 2008 while Eller was the 13th overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Eller is a center while Schultz is a right wing.
Again, this trade could have a serious domino effect on the goalie market. It sounded like the Blues were interested in retaining their previous starter Chris Mason, but that’s obviously not true anymore. (Unless Halak bolts for a different team.) Carey Price looks like he’s still the goalie of Montreal’s future, after all. (Um, unless he bolts too.)
Naturally, we’ll let you know if any other details emerge. I can safely say that no one saw this coming, but it could be a landmark move for the St. Louis Blues. The question is: will the Habs regret this day for years to come?
Update: I received an e-mail from hildymac that captures a bit more detail about the two prospects the Montreal Canadiens traded for.
“I liked Lars Eller and what I saw of him while he was up with the Blues. He’s extremely speedy, and the former first rounder has the potential to be a 25-30 goal scorer at his peak. The Blues though already had a player in that same mold who was more developed in David Perron, and could afford to lose Eller for Halak. Schultz is tough – he had 150 PIMs last season along with 55 points in 70 games with the Hitmen. If he continues to develop well, he’s a good energy guy. He’s also 6’2″, so it’s an upgrade height wise. Not like anyone would ever notice that.”