St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong traded Brian Elliott to the Calgary Flames on Friday of NHL draft weekend, and then, a week later, signed Jake Allen to a four-year, $17.4 million contract extension.
Elliott is going into the last season of his three-year contract, while Allen is halfway through his current two-year pact.
“Talking to Brian when the season was over, he’s at the age – he’s going to be an unrestricted free agent. He really wants the net,” noted Armstrong during a Wednesday appearance on Toronto’s SiriusXMNHL. “Jake, at 26, had the net and then the injuries – Brian went in there and grabbed it and didn’t look back.
“I think it was a great relationship for a number of years, but I think the relationship could have been strained as you enter this last year with Brian being unrestricted and then obviously Jake would have been on the last year of his deal. I don’t think we could have made that type of commitment to Jake with Brian still here because it would have poisoned the well.
“I think it was a situation that was great for Brian, great for Jake, and good for the Blues. Brian was a great player for us last year. He leads the St. Louis Blues as the leader in shutouts. He had a great run here and we wish him nothing but the best. But it was time, as I said, to move forward and turn this over to this mid-20s group of players.”
So Jake Allen can handle a big workload if necessary?
“That’s why we made the move,” reiterated Armstrong. “He’s done everything in the American Hockey League. He’s got to stay healthy and he’s going to have to keep going. But Jim Corsi, who’s someone that obviously is our goalie coach and someone I have immense respect for- he’s worked with Hasek. He’s worked with Miller. He’s worked with top goalies. He really believes that Jake is right at the cusp of becoming an excellent NHL goaltender as a starter.
“So you take all of that information and you put it in, and it just seemed like now is the time.”
Dealing Elliott not only allowed the Blues to give Allen some breathing room in net, but it also provided a much-needed upgrade between the pipes for the Calgary Flames.
NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman explored the latter sentiment during a TV hit on NHL Network later last month.
“I do think the goaltending is going to make a big difference,” said Friedman during a segment on the Flames, while then detailed his belief on the motivational mindset of Calgary’s new No. 1 goaltender. “I think one thing about Brian Elliott is he’s going to have a huge chip on his shoulder. You’re looking at a guy who got the St. Louis Blues over the hump last year. He feels that he wasn’t properly respected by the organization.
“I’ve known Brian Elliott for a bit of time. He’s always been a guy who felt that he hasn’t gotten the credit he’s deserved. It happened in Ottawa. He was a late-round pick. I think he’s a guy that will change the way the Flames practice because he’s a very competitive practice person. I think the team is going to feel very confident in front of him.”
Sources: SiriusXMNHL, NHL Network/ Transcript: Nichols