Elliott Out A Month; Will Blues Trade For Goalie?
The St. Louis Blues will be without netminder Brian Elliott for at least a month after the 30-year old left Monday’s game against San Jose with a lower-body injury and was placed on long-term injured reserve on Tuesday.
The Ontario native appeared to sustain the injury when twisting to reach back for a puck trickling towards the Blues goal at 12:59 of the first period, with Jake Allen replacing Elliott for the remainder of the game. He will be re-evaluated in four weeks, according to the Blues.
Allen, who was reactivated from the injured reserve on Sunday, made 15 saves in his return to action as the Sharks won 6-3.
Elliott won 12 games during Allen’s absence, seemingly reclaiming the Blues starting role as he rocketed toward the top of the league’s statistical rankings. His even-strength adjusted-save percentage of .9418 leads the entire NHL (minimum 1,000 minutes), with only Toronto’s James Reimer boasting a better high danger save percentage at .9027 compared to Elliott’s .9005 per cent.
With Allen only recently recovering from a lower body injury of his own, questions were immediately raised as to whether Blues’ General Manager Doug Armstrong would look to acquire a goaltender ahead of Monday’s trade deadline.
St. Louis recalled Pheonix Copley Tuesday and also has Jordan Binnington in the system, but may prefer to have a more experienced hand supporting Allen if there are questions about Elliott’s ability to be back before the playoffs.
Allen, 25, had been in good form prior to his injury, and has an 18-11-3 record this season 2.18 goals-against average and .9233 save percentage in all situations. The former Drummondville Voltigeurs goaltender started all six playoff games for the Blues last season, as the club was knocked out by Minnesota at the Western Conference Quarter Final stage.
Alaska native Copley was seen as a significant acquisition for the Blues, who traded TJ Oshie to Washington during the off season in exchange for the 24-year old netminder, winger Troy Brouwer and a 2016 third-round pick, but is yet to make his NHL debut, while Binnington only made his NHL debut in January, courtesy of a brief cameo against Carolina.
St. Louis next game is Thursday, when they host the New York Rangers before embarking on a four-game road trip through the Feb. 29 trade deadline. InGoal recently took a look at some of the available goaltending options going into the deadline and a short list of likely suitors that the Blues may now be competing with.