The question was in the back of all our minds when the Blues signed Martin Brodeur … "So what happens when Brian Elliott is healthy?"
Actually it wasn’t really in the back of our minds at all. It was a pressing question. I mean, did Marty the legend really see himself as a backup to Elliott? Or even a mentor to Jake Allen?
Elliott was activated off injured reserve by St. Louis on Tuesday morning – and the Blues have decided to go with three goaltenders just to see if Elliott is 100 percent healthy from his strained right knee. Elliott will start Tuesday night against the Predators. Coach Ken Hitchcock also said Brodeur will start one of the next two games. This sounds like a three-headed monster.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“It would be prudent for us to stay with three, knowing that Brian is not going to go from playing a hockey game to awful sore and not able to participate for another few days,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “So I think (Armstrong) wants to really guard on that sense, and I don’t blame him a bit for doing that.”
So who will be the odd goalie out? The publication surmises that it will be Brodeur, who recorded a shutout Monday in a 3-0 win over Colorado.
Brodeur said he doesn’t mind sticking around, even as insurance.
“I’m open to any kind of situation,” he said. “I’m just happy that I’m on the roster of an NHL team and a great team. Regardless of what it takes for me to help the team one way or another, I’m ready for it.”
But what of those pesky rumors from early in December that speculated St. Louis was trying to trade Elliott (via The Fourth Period on Dec. 8)?
So was Marty just a placeholder for Elliott or could St. Louis look to move forward with an Allen-Brodeur tandem?
If that’s the case, they’d have to deal with Marty’s ego pushing on Allen’s developing confidence. Regardless of all the happy-speak, this does create a weird situation with the Blues. St. Louis has gone 6-5-1 since Brodeur was signed. Before then, the Blues were 16-6-2.
With the legend around, Allen has gone 3-3-1 with a 3.68 goals-against average and .874 save percentage in December.
While the Blues have said having Brodeur wouldn’t be a distraction, he totally has been an issue. Imagine you’re Allen, a 24-year-old learning the NHL ropes, and you have arguably the ‘GOAT’ staring you down every time you allow a goal.
Again, he’s Marty. He’s probably not there to mentor. He’s there to play.
Meanwhile, Brodeur gets celebrated for a 16-save shutout. Sounds like the good ol' days with Niedermayer and Stevens manning the blueline in front of him.
There are routes to move forward for the Blues. Said shutout could at least give them leverage to trade Brodeur. His 2.63 GAA and .904 save percentage are manageable for a backup. His contract is OK in spite of his performance bonuses – which would be less of a worry if he’s a No. 2.
If Brodeur’s goal was to prove he could still play at an NHL level, he has definitely done so.
Regardless, if Elliott comes back and plays lights-out, it’s decision time for the Blues, and maybe the end of the road for a legend in the Midwest.
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