Halak was coming off a miraculous playoff run with the Montreal Canadiens and, on paper, looked to be the solution to the Blues long-running goaltending problems.
For the better part of a decade, the Blues tried goalie after goalie, hoping that one would be able to seize the reins as the franchise netminder. While a few showed promise, none were able to perform well in the clutch.
The following- at times laughable- list represents the goaltenders that played at least one game in net for the St. Louis Blues from 2000-2010:
Jamie McLennan, Brent Johnson, Roman Turek, Reinhard Divis, Fred Brathwaite, Curtis Sanford, Cody Rudkowsky, Chris Osgood, Tom Barrasso, Patrick Lalime, Jason Bacashihua, Marek Schwarz, Manny Legace, Hannu Toivonen, Chris Beckford-Tseu, Chris Mason, Chris Holt, Ben Bishop, Ty Conklin.
To put that into perspective, during the same time period, the New Jersey Devils only had seven different goalies strap on the pads.
Looking at the list above, it is easy to see why the Blues organization was ecstatic to land Halak. He was young, talented and had proven himself on the biggest stage. Everything pointed to the Blues landing a netminder to build a franchise around.
Unfortunately, now in the final year of his four-year deal with the Blues, Halak has yet to establish himself as a bona fide No. 1 goalie for the Blues. To his defense, part of that is due to an extensive injury history. Hand, ankle and groin problems have kept Halak from playing more than 57 games in a season for the Blues.
It also must be mentioned that Halak has had stretches of play where he looks like the dominant goaltender the Blues originally thought they were trading for. Most notably, his play down the stretch of the 2011-12 season was outstanding. He finished the year with a .926 save percentage and a 1.97 goals against average.
Unfortunately, that type of play has been marred by stretches of inconsistency. During these stretches, Halak exhibits subject positioning, bad rebound control and a shoddy glove hand.
So far, the beginning of the 2013-14 season has been microcosm of Halak’s career with the Blues. He got off to a fast start, posting an 9-2-1 record to go along with a .913 SV% and a 2.16 GAA in his first 11 games.
However, in his past three games, Halak is 1-1-1 with a .816 SV% and a 3.00 GAA. Additionally, he has let bad habits creep back into his game. Several of his goals against have been a result of bad positioning, rebounds and glove work.
This most recent stretch of games has many Blues fans on edge about Halak’s play. They see the that team built in front of him is capable of winning a Stanley Cup. However, as has been the case so many times in Blues history, they are worried that goaltending will once again be the Note’s downfall.
Halak has a proven playoff pedigree. He has shown he can carry a team through April and May before. However, he has yet to display that ability in St. Louis, leaving many Blues fans to wonder if he ever will.
Is this just a minor bump in the road to glory? Or is it a sign of things to come?
So, in today’s poll, we ask you, the readers: