There may not be a bigger surprise this year in the NHL than the play of St Louis Blues goaltender Brian Elliott.
Elliott, 26, who was just named an all-star for the first time last week, signed an extension Wednesday through the 2013-14 season worth $3.6 million, according to multiple reports. The deal will have an average annual cap hit of $1.8 million and will be worth $1.7 million in 2012-2013 and $1.9 million in 2013-2014.
Elliott has helped lead a surging Blues club compiling a record of 15-5-1 with a 93.7% save-percentage and a 1.68 goals-against average. He ranks second in the NHL behind Boston’s Tuuka Rask in goals-against average and tied for second in save-percentage with Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, also behind Rask.
The move appears as another shrewd move by Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong, who nabbed Elliott in the off-season on a $600,000 two-way deal. There was no guarantee Elliott would even make the club out of training camp but showed confidence in pre-season and never looked back. Elliott beat out Blues prospect and local product Ben Bishop for the backup role.
After some early season struggles by no.1 net-minder Jaroslav Halak, Elliott began to take off with winning ten of his first 12 starts for St. Louis keeping the club afloat during a time when the team changed head coaches on November 6th.
Elliott would have been a restricted free agent this summer, but the Newmarket, Ontario native seems quite comfortable in St. Louis after a tumultuous year in which he was traded by the club who drafted him (Ottawa) to Colorado and compiled a combined 15-27-9 record on two clubs who were 24th and 30th respectively in overall goals-against.
Elliott is known as a guy who has earned everything in his hockey career. As an original 9th round selection (291st overall) in 2003, it has been a long road. He doesn’t seem like the type of guy that always feels the grass is always greener on the other side. Which is why Brian Elliott and St Louis suit each other just fine.