For my post this morning, I was planning on writing a post about how the St. Louis Blues, contrary to the opinion of The Hockey News, wasn’t going to finish first place in the Western Conference. Then I checked Backhand Shelf yesterday and saw that Ryan Lambert had already done so in his usual acerbic style. He ran down a number of reasons, but for me the most important is that there’s no way the goaltending tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott will repeat their performances from last season.
Halak, at least, has several seasons of good to great goaltending under his belt. Even if he’s not as phenomenal as his .926 save percentage and 1.97 goals against average, it’s safe to assume that he’ll still be good enough to give the Blues a chance to win when he starts.
But Elliott? What can we expect from him next season? Like Halak, he has several consistent seasons under his belt. Unfortunately, those seasons were consistently bad. In his last three seasons, Elliott posted save percentages of .902, .909, and .893. In 2011-12, he posted the best single-season save percentage of all time. To go from .893 in one season to .940 in the next just doesn’t happen in the modern NHL. It’s unheard of. It seems impossible.
That’s why it’s incredibly difficult to predict what the 2012-13 season holds for Brian Elliott.