The World Championships were supposed to be an opportunity for Jaroslav Halak to get his game back on track heading into the 2011-12 season. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case through the netminder’s first three games where he has posted a 1-2 record with a 3.04 GAA and a save percentage of .880. The sample size is small but Halak has failed to bring his best to his native Slovakia.
While the World Championships don’t really have any major implications for Blues fans, Halak’s poor play does add a new level of concern to what was already there.
Overall, fans in St. Louis feel Halak greatly underperformed in 2010-11. Granted, expectations were set much too high but the fact remains that Halak was brought in to be a true number one goaltender that was capable of stealing games for his club. Instead fans were treated with an inconsistent goaltender that was capable of shutdown performances but more often than not looked like a player that was lacking poise and confidence.
Halak finished last season with a 27-21-7 record with a 2.48 GAA and a .910 save percentage. The numbers aren’t terrible by any means but they also aren’t the numbers of a difference maker. Instead, the numbers scream to what was the biggest problem we saw from Halak all season long: inconsistency.
We shouldn’t make too much from his play in the World Championships but it’s tough to ignore the ever growing fear that Halak might not be the solid number one we hoped he’d be.
In this writer’s opinion, the 2011-12 season will be a pivotal season for Halak in the St. Louis organization. We can make a pass for year one being shaky, but if Halak continues to make similar mistakes in the second year of his contract it’ll be interesting to see what the organization does with a couple of talented faces waiting in Peoria.