Pretty big day in St. Louis, huh?
Just a short while after learning Alex Steen and Kris Russell would return from injury, the Blues announced they’d re-signed All-Star netminder Brian Elliott to a two-year, $3.6 million deal. The extension will pay Elliott $1.7 million next year and $1.9 million the year after, a pretty significant raise from the $600,000, two-way deal he signed back in July.
“Brian came in here and helped stabilize our goaltending and make it one of the top tandems in the NHL,” said Blues GM Doug Armstrong. “Having Brian and Jaro [Halak] signed through the 13-14 season, our goaltending is set.”
Elliott’s posted a 15-5-1 record this season, ranking second in the NHL with a 1.68 goals-against average, .937 save percentage and five shutouts — which nobody saw coming after he flamed out in both Ottawa and Colorado.
You can count Armstrong among those surprised by Elliott’s play, something he told St. Louis Today back in December.
“You’re going to have to look pretty deep to find a story that’s bigger than Elliott’s story,” Armstrong said. “It would be disingenuous to say that we saw this coming and we were smarter than everybody else in the NHL. The reality is, he’s come in and done a great job and we’re all benefiting from it.
“If there is a better story in the NHL this year, I’d like to read it.”
On a side note, you can start shortlisting Armstrong for GM of the Year honors. Between the Elliott signing, the Hitchcock hire and the Kris Russell trade, every move he’s made this year has seemingly bolstered his club. Adding veteran presences in Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott through free agency proved savvy as well, as they’ve provided leadership to the young forward core of Patrik Berglund, David Perron, TJ Oshie and Chris Stewart.