It’s now confirmed by various media outlets that the Montreal Canadiens have traded goaltender Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues for Lars Eller and Ian Schultz. Both Eller and Schultz are prospects in the Blues organization.
Lars Eller is actually a very good player, he was a 1st round pick in 2007 and will be in Montreal’s top 6 next year at C or on LW. Eller is more of a playmaker than a pure scorer and he is certainly not known as a soft player – he could be good for 15-35-50 as soon as next year. Keep in mind that Lars Eller is under contract for 2 more years, with a cap hit of $1.27 million per season. Halak, of course, was an RFA who may have been an offer sheet target, and may have even been courted by the KHL. Ian schultz is a 3rd round pick, and he is more of a gritty/grinding forward. His potential to make the NHL is limited, and if he does, it will be as a 3rd/4th liner.
I am surprised that Halak’s return did not yield a better player. Factors like Halak’s contract status and demands played a big part for sure; as did the high supply of available goaltenders and low demand amongst teams around the league. My one belief is that the Habs could have gotten him under contract if they wanted to, or they could have at least traded for a roster player. But with the money it would have cost them, I have a feeling that they preferred to get prospects in return, and maybe use the money they just saved to attract a particular free agent that they might be looking at. I don’t know who it could be or if that’s even their plan, but it would definitely explain why Montreal settled for prospects rather than established NHL players. Based on the comments made in Pierre Gauthier’s conference call, my best guess is that Montreal will be after a veteran UFA backup goalie, and my money is on Martin Biron.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.