St. Louis Blues Brian Elliott Needs A Hot Start In Goal


The St. Louis Blues goalie situation seems to be a never ending topic of conversation.

When training camp began on Friday it seemed as if the Blues were well prepared for this season in net. With Brian Elliott and Jake Allen both under contract until the end of the 2017 season, the Blues will be returning a tandem that led the team to a first place finish in the central division last season.

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During Ken Hitchcock’s tenure as head coach of the Blues he has always split time pretty evenly between his two goalies.

Elliott has been the only consistent member of those tandems. Over the past three seasons he shared the net with Allen, Jaroslav Halak, and Ryan Miller.

If management has enough faith in Elliott to keep him as a goalie while the other spot remains a revolving door, then why has he not gained a true number one spot as the teams starting goalie?

Last season Elliott started 13 more games than Allen. Despite the difference in games, the two had very similar numbers throughout the year.

Elliott had 26 wins while Allen had 22. Elliott had a 2.26 goals against average, Allen had 2.28. Elliott had a .917 save percentage, Allen’s was .913.

With numbers like that, there was no clear choice for a true starting goalie. So Hitchcock did what he felt was best and he started the hot hand.

Brian Elliott of the St. Louis Blues is blindfolded during the breakaway challenge in the 2015 NHL All Star Game skills competition at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Allen was undoubtedly the hot goalie as the season ended last year, and that play earned him the starting spot heading into the playoffs. Like so many goalies before him, he led the Blues to a first round loss in six games.

Both goalies have now had their chance to backstop the Blues in the playoffs. Both goalies have failed to make a difference.

While Allen was disappointing in the series loss to the Minnesota Wild, his new 3 year contract this summer proved General Manager Doug Armstrong has faith in the 25-year-old moving forward.

Allen is 5 years younger than Elliott. Allen has a team around him that he is comfortable with. After last year, Allen has a bit of playoff experience.

Allen seemed like the clear choice to take the starting goalie spot going into training camp. In less than two days that certainty became a bit more foggy.

According to a Jeremy Rutherford tweet, Allen was pulled from practice on Saturday due to back spasms. While back spasms don’t seem like something that will keep Allen out for long, it is the opportunity that Elliott needs to prove he deserves to be the number one goalie.

Elliott has the rest of training camp and all of the preseason ahead of him. Every day that Allen is out is another day for Elliott to show that his is ready for this season.

Hitchcock will always split time between his goalies. He is willing to give anyone a chance. But if Elliott does not take this opportunity to prove that he deserves to be a true number one, he will be relegated to Allen’s back up.

Next: St. Louis Blues Like Their Chances In New OT Format

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