After staring for his team during the Stanley Cup playoffs this past spring the Montreal Canadiens pulled the trigger on a deal Thursday afternoon that sent goaltender Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues for a couple of prospects.
Halak who is only 25 years-old was the main story this spring around the NHL when he carried the eight seeded Canadiens to playoff series victories against the heavily favoured Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Unfortunately for the excited fans in Montreal the playoff run ended in the Eastern Conference finals when Halak ran out of gas.
During the opening round Halak who was drafted by Montreal ninth round in 2003 caught fire when his team trailed Washington in games 3-1. After being benched for Game 4 Halak who ended the playoffs with a stellar 2.55 GAA and .923 save percentage went on to stop 131 of 134 Washington shots to cap what was a seven game upset.
In the second round Halak was not intimidated by the defending Stanley Cup champions as he turned aside 71 of 76 shots as Montreal who was behind in the series 3-2 at one point came back to eliminate Pittsburgh.
Halak quietly put together a solid regular season that saw him go 26-13-5 and in the process steal the number one job away from Carey Price. St. Louis who finished this season out of the playoffs rolled the dice on this deal as Halak becomes a restricted free agent on July 1.
“When you think of where he was drafted and the road trip he’s had to become who he is today, he’s excelled in all areas,” Blues President John Davidson said.
“He helped Montreal get in the playoffs, he played well in the playoffs, he also really played well in the Olympics. We’re just simply excited to have him here in St. Louis. Our research tells us about his demeanour, which is really solid.”
St. Louis went into the off-season with the number one objective of getting a solid goaltender as Chris Mason (played for St. Louis last year) will be hitting the open market as a free agent.