Brian Elliott put his name in the history books on Saturday without even playing a game.
By giving way to Jaroslav Halak in St. Louis’ season finale — the Blues beat the Stars 3-2 in Dallas — Elliott finished the year with a sparking 1.56 goals-against average, the lowest mark of the modern era. Elliott broke Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff’s 2003-04 record of 1.69.
To put Elliott’s mark in perspective, consider that 1.56 is tied for the 19th-lowest mark in the history of the NHL, tying him with the goals-against average Frank Brimsek had for the Boston Bruins in 1938-39.
(The lowest ever is George Hainsworth’s 0.92, which he posted for Montreal in 1928-29).
This modern-day record is just the latest in what’s been a career year for Elliott, 26. He made his first All-Star game, captured his first Jennings Trophy (along with Halak), led the NHL in GAA and save percentage (.940) and finished second among all goalies with nine shutouts.
Not bad for a guy St. Louis signed to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000, huh?
(FYI: The NHL’s “modern era” is regarded as 1992 and beyond.)
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.