The St. Louis Blues have had some very good goaltenders over the years, but they just have not been able to get it all pulled together at the same time in order to bring a Stanley Cup Championship to St. Louis.
Over the years, players like Glen Hall, Curtis Joseph, Mike Liut, Grant Fuhr have graced the Bluenote, and brought fans to life with spectacular play. Even Roman Turek gave fans hope that the team would win the ellusive Stanley Cup during the teams President’s Trophy winning season of 1999-2000. Over the last two seasons, the play of our goaltending has been far below standard, and if this team hopes to just make the playoffs, something has to change and has to change in a hurry.
Jaroslav Halak was supposed to be the key missing piece to a Blues team that was on the cusp of getting into the playoffs and making some noise. The only bad part is that the Blues didn’t make the playoffs last year with Halak as their #1 goalie, and from the looks of the start of this season, it may be a long summer again for the boys.
I remember an article where GM Doug Armstrong said that the Blues went after Halak because he had the “Pedigree” they were looking for. He also said the reason they went for Halak was because he was someone who had made his mark in the playoffs, and because he was not a “Flash in the Pan!” Well the way it looks to me is that Halak is just that. Sure he was great in the Playoffs for the Canadiens a few years ago, but in all honesty, what has he done since?
Halak has quickly become a mediocre goaltender, and that is not something that the Blues can afford to waste time on right now. In order for the Blues to succeed, they need someone who is going to go out and win some games for them. They need a goalie that is not going to give up multiple weak goals every game. They need someone who in the very least can put the team on his back and help lead them to the playoffs.
Can Halak be this person? I think that he can, but I a afraid that with all the hype and fanfare that landed him in St. Louis, that it could be too much pressure on him. He is reaching that stage in his career where he should be progressing every night on the ice. I know Halak hasn’t been a starting goalie but just for a little over a year, but he is quickly approaching 30 years old, and if he hasn’t shown anything other than his stellar playoff run two years ago, he very well could go the way of the Do Do.
The Blues don’t even have a veteran back-up. Yeah they have Brian Elliot, but he is only a month older than Halak, and he couldn’t keep a job with a the Ottawa Senators, and they have given up 30 goals in thier first 6 games this season. This again doesn’t instill warm feelings for me.
The Blues have struggled between the pipes for many years, and the way that Halak has started this season, and the way Elliot has played in the past, I am not sure that we are going to see a big turn around anytime soon.
My biggest question is if the Blues only picked up Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott for one year, why are they continuing to stick with goaltending that is below standard. Since GM Doug Armstrong said, they wanted players with “Pedigree” or “players who have made their mark in the Playoffs,” why are they wasting the one year they have these key players in place because he can’t see the forest for the trees.
If the Blues don’t do something, and do it soon, they will not only miss the playoffs this season, but they will be looking at one of the top 2 or 3 picks in next years NHL Entry Draft.