Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Was the Brian Elliott Extension a Good Idea?

Earlier today, the Blues decided to re-sign goaltender Brian Elliott to a 2-year extension worth $3.6 million in the midst of his first All-Star campaign. On the surface, this doesn't seem like a terrible move for St. Louis. After all, should Elliott keep form through the end of the season, another team would probably have to pay more than $3.6 million for his services. The biggest problem with this, however, is that Elliott's current form differs quite a bit from what we've seen over his career (numbers via NHL.com):

SeasonTeamGPES SAES GAES SV%
2007-2008OTT12210.955
2008-2009OTT31628500.920
2009-2010OTT5510891010.907
2010-2011OTT/COL5512371240.900
2011-2012STL22459250.946
Career3 Teams16434353010.912

We've seen teams give out similar contracts based on similar samples, contracts which don't always turn out so well in the department of expected performance (See: Leighton, Michael). At the end of the day, however, a $1.8 million cap hit isn't going to handcuff a team beyond repair. If Elliott turns out to be at least average or a little better, St. Louis will have him locked in at a very good price. If a 22 game sample indeed regresses back to his career averages, the modest average annual value will make this an easy contract to trade or demote, a win-win for the Blues.

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