Heading into the free agency period, the Blues made it clear that they were looking to add a backup goaltender. According to the team's official Twitter account, Brian Elliott has been signed to a one-year, two-way contract with the Blues. Elliott should compete for the backup role with Ben Bishop now that Ty Conklin is no longer in the mix.
Elliott has seen his fair share of ups and downs during the early stages of his young career, producing some solid seasons followed by a couple that leave a lot to be desired.
After making his NHL debut in 2007-08 (his lone start) for Ottawa, Elliott went on to appear in 31 games for the Senators in 2008-09. Here he compiled a 16-8-3 record with a 2.77 GAA and a .902 save percentage.
The following season saw Elliott appear in 55 games while going 29-18-4 with a respectable 2.57 GAA. Unfortunately, the 2009-10 season was the last season that Elliott truly appeared to have complete focus and his "A-game" on the ice.
With higher expectations, Elliott was a big disappointment last season, going 13-19-8 with a 3.19 GAA over 43 appearances with the Senators. His poor play caused him to be dealt to the Colorado Avalanche on February 18th in exchange for Craig Anderson. With the Avalanche, Elliott did little to impress by going 2-8-1 with an ugly 3.83 GAA over 12 starts.
The Blues needed to bring in a new goaltender to compete with Ben Bishop for the backup job, and with several goaltenders leaving the market earlier today, the Blues obviously felt Elliott was the right choice.
Frankly, this was a move that needed to be done, though the selection of Elliott being the chosen candidate is one for debate. The market for backup goaltenders saturated fairly quickly once the Minnesota Wild announced they were retaining Josh Harding, and other options were few and far between. One thing is certain and that is Elliott won't cost the organization very much money.
The key aspect of this signing to note is that it is a two-way deal. If Elliott impresses during training camp only to have the wheels to fall off a month into the year, the Blues can call upon Bishop and send Elliott down to Peoria.
The ultimate job of the backup goaltender is not only to provide steady, reliable performances when he is called upon, but also to push the number one goaltender into the best player he can be. Can Brian Elliott, or even Ben Bishop accomplish this with Jaroslav Halak? We will see.