halak elliott

Armstrong feels Blues can keep Halak, Elliott and Allen


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.

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.