ST. LOUIS – Brian Elliott, the St. Louis Blues’ lone all-star, signed a two-year contract extension rather than capitalize on his breakout season and test the free agent market.
The goalie likes the makeup of this team that has surged under coach Ken Hitchcock and is among the NHL’s best.
“I think we have a pretty good thing going right now,” Elliott said Wednesday night. “I’ve been on the other side of it, and I’m not a guy that will want to roll the dice all the time.
“I just like to have it done and not worry about it, so I can just play hockey.”
The $3.6 million deal will pay the 26-year-old Elliott $1.7 million next season and $1.9 million in 2013-14. He signed a two-way contract this season and is making $600,000.
“He’s the perfect example of perseverance,” Hitchcock said. “He just had to become more compact in his game, and he’s done that, he’s done it beautifully.
“He’s resurrected a career based on being able to look in the mirror and not feel sorry for himself, and make adjustments.”
Elliott hadn’t been expecting the Blues to approach him.
“I was happy that they wanted me to stay. Whenever you get that, you know that they’re impressed with you and your work ethic,” Elliott said.
Elliott is 15-5-1 with five shutouts, and a 1.68 goals-against average that is second-best in the NHL. He entered training camp battling for a backup job behind Jaroslav Halak, but capitalized on Halak’s slow start by winning his first four starts. They are now splitting playing time.
“Obviously, with our record, I think it’s been really good,” Elliott said. “Whenever you get a couple of guys pushing each other, I think it helps a lot.”
Elliott and Halak have combined for a 1.98 goals-against average, tied for the best in the NHL, and the duo leads the league with eight shutouts. Elliott is 9-1-1 at home.
“The situation he was in last summer, wondering where he was going to play and finding a good home here and doing his job on the ice, I think it’s a great story,” general manager Doug Armstrong said. “Now he can settle in and take his career to the next level.”