It’s not a secret that the St. Louis Blues desperately need a goaltender.
The Blues’ number one goaltender, Jake Allen has been insufferably bad. At this point in the season, Allen has a 3.12 GAA and a .900 SV% after 22 games in net.
Their back-up goaltender, Chad Johnson was waived earlier this week. Unfortunately for Blues fans, Johnson wasn’t great either. In 10 games played this season, Johnson had a 3.55 GAA and a .884 SV%.
St. Louis Blues fans should be thankful as Johnson is no longer with the organization. Earlier today, it was announced that the Anaheim Ducks had claimed Johnson off of waivers. The Ducks desperately needed a goaltender after it was revealed that their backup goaltender, Ryan Miller would be on the shelf for roughly six weeks with a sprained MCL.
With Johnson on his way to Southern California, the Blues will now rely on Jordan Binnington to backup Allen. Binnington hasn’t played in the NHL since 2015-2016. In the 2015-2016 regular season, he only made one start and it wasn’t pretty.
So, it’s fair to say that Doug Armstrong, the general manager of the St. Louis Blues should look to make an upgrade in-goal. If Armstrong adds a top goaltender, the Blues might be able to get out of their struggles.
Who Might be an Option?
If I’m in Armstrong’s loafers, the first call that I would make would be to the Boston Bruins.
This season has been rather rocky for the Bruins. At the moment, the Bruins sit in fourth place in the Atlantic Division. Unfortunately for fans in New England, the Bruins have had a number of health issues. They’ve been without their elite centre, Patrice Bergeron since November 16th. In addition, Bruins’ winger, Jake DeBrusk is hurt as well. Even if both forwards come back tomorrow, the Bruins will likely still look to add another forward prior to the deadline.
If the Bruins want to add a forward, they could potentially look at trading Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis. With Halak having a strong year, the Bruins have two great goaltenders that they can rely on. Aside from Halak, Bruce Cassidy also has Tuukka Rask at his disposal. Rask did struggle early on this season, but he seems to be back to his old self. With Rask on the roster, the Bruins don’t really need two strong goaltenders and should look to capitalize on Halak’s rising value.
Halak Back In St. Louis?
For St. Louis Blues fans, Halak should be a familiar name. Halak played for the Blues from 2010-2014.
During his time in St. Louis, Missouri, Halak was outstanding. In fact, in his 2011-2012 campaign, he had a 1.97 GAA and a .926 SV%. While it’s not 2013, Halak can still be exceptional if he returns to St. Louis. Sure, he won’t be the same goaltender as he was in 2011-2012, but he can still be dominant.
In the Tableau visual below, Tyler Kelley, contributor of FanSided’s Pucks and Pitchforks (New Jersey Devils blog) shows how Halak and St. Louis Blues’ goaltender, Allen performed last season.
Overall, Halak is a better all-around goaltender than Allen. The only statistical category that Allen was extremely better than Halak was xSv% (Expected Save Percentage). Aside from xSv%, Halak truly was more consistent. In addition, you notice that Halak was a lot better at MDSv% (Mid Danger Save Percentage), Sv%, GSAA30 percentage (Goals Saved Above Average/30) and dSv% (Delta Save Percentage).
The best part for Blues fans is that they wouldn’t have to part with a significant amount to land Halak. Armstrong could potentially send Patrick Maroon or Tyler Bozak to Boston to acquire Halak. While some Blues fans might not be happy to send Bozak to Boston, the need for a top goaltender out-weighs the need for a veteran third line centre. Plus, there are a few centremen in the organization that could fill in for Bozak. All-in-all, it would make a lot of sense if Armstrong were able to acquire Halak.
stats from hockey-reference.com and NHL.com
tableau visual from Tyler Kelley