More often than not, big free agent acquisitions fall flat on their faces. Whether it’s learning a new system, facing the increased pressure of getting paid big bucks or being unable to sustain previous performances, these transactions rarely work out.
It’s way too early to say that Jaroslav Halak will be a long-term boon for the St. Louis Blues, but so far so good. He is 6-1-1 in eight starts so far, putting together an outstanding 93.2 save percentage and 1.71 GAA.
Blues coach Davis Payne explained to NHL.com that Halak has been a nice fit in St. Louis so far.
Payne said Halak (6-1-1, .932 save percentage, 1.71 GAA) has been perfect for the Blues because his attitude and philosophy as a goalie fits perfectly with the overall attitude and philosophy the coach has for his team.
“He plays into a lot of the things we talked about right from Day 1 in training camp — how we’re going to show up and work every day, how we’re going to prepare, how we’re going to play and how we’re not going to allow one day to affect the next,” Payne said. “We’re just going to get back at it and he plays goal with that mindset. It’s one play to the next and away we go. Very few highs and lows, just steady performances, and that’s what we want out of our hockey team. We tailor things to opponents, but when we talk about our game we want it to be steady, consistent and at a high level and he plays right into that.”
Of course, the Blues have had a light schedule so far, with only nine games in October.
We’ll get a real taste of what kind of team the Blues really are in November, though. Take a look at this screen shot of their schedule this month, via the Blues’ Web site.
After only playing nine games in October, they will play 14 in November. They’ll face four sets of back-to-back games in that period and will play three road games in a row twice.
The Blues could make some big gains if they can keep their heads above water after this month, though. December could be beneficial in every way that November might be treacherous. From December 9 to January 10, the Blues will play 12 games at home and only three on the road.
St. Louis is off to a great start so far, but the next two months will be a great barometer for how strong they are … and how great a move it was to add Halak.