One area the St. Louis Blues don’t have to sweat is goaltending.
Between Jaroslav Halak, Brian Elliott, and Jake Allen they’ve got three guys all vying for playing time and at least one already has a bead on being the No. 1 guy (Halak).
Does that mean all their questions and concerns are answered? Of course not! Let’s break it all down.
Halak: When the Blues acquired him three years ago, they figured they’d answered their starting goalie question for the foreseeable future. They did… Sort of.
After dealing with injuries of varying degrees that past two seasons, the team believes he’s entering this season in great shape. If he stays healthy he figures to get the bulk of the starts, but counting on him to do that may be seen as a gamble.
Two seasons ago he was outstanding before getting hurt. If that type of play returns, the Blues will be sitting pretty.
Elliott: Whenever Halak went out of action, it was Elliott who stood tall. His incredible numbers two seasons ago made many believe the Blues were destined to make the Stanley Cup Final. Instead, the Kings bounced them out of action.
Last year, Elliott wasn’t nearly as good and suffered the same fate all while being pushed by Allen for starts late in the season.
Ideally he’s the backup, but with the other worries (Halak’s health, Allen’s rise), Ken Hitchcock may have some hard choices to make. After the way he flamed out in Colorado, many are waiting to see if his slip-ups last season will continue.
Allen: He’s the new guy of the bunch and he showed last season he can be good in a pinch. After the Blues dealt Ben Bishop to Ottawa last year, Allen’s path to St. Louis was cleared.
Is he a legit backup hopeful or does he need more time in the minors? He’s just 22 years old so rushing him to the NHL now to be a backup may not be necessary, but if Elliott’s struggles continue he could be wearing the baseball cap on the bench.
Somehow through this “cloudy” situation, Hitchcock and GM Doug Armstrong will figure things out, but don’t be shocked to see all three guys at some point this season.