The Montreal Canadiens goaltending dilemma has appeared to come to a close as
on Thursday afternoon, the Habs dealt G Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis in exchange
for F Lars Eller and RW Ian Schultz. Eller stands 6’0 and 198 lbs and was
the 13th overall pick in 2007 while Schultz, 6’2 and 200 lbs was a late 3rd
round pick, 87th overall in the 2008 draft.
Halak, as we all know by now, started last season as the backup to Carey
Price, but his strong play in the 2nd half of the season and the Olympics
vaulted him to the starting role. He was the main reason the Habs got
through Washington in Round 1 and played quite well against the Pens in Round 2.
He struggled a bit in Round 3 but still played reasonably well. However,
there were rumblings of discontent at various points through the year, while
agent Allan Walsh hinted during the postseason there were issues with how Halak
was being treated. A pending RFA, Halak was eligible for arbitration for
the first time next month. An interesting note from the media conference
is that the Habs did not talk to the Halak camp at all after the playoffs ended,
further adding to the speculation of Halak’s unhappiness.
Eller was selected just after ex-Hab prospect Ryan McDonagh in 2007 and made
his NHL debut last year in his first pro season, picking up a pair of goals in 7
games. He had some AHL success as well, amassing 57 points (18-39-57) in
70 contests with 84 PIMS. Of note, he and recently acquired Aaron Palushaj
were both rookies with the AHL’s Peoria Rivermen this past season. Eller
also played in the recent IIHF World Championships for Team Denmark, picking up
5 points in 7 games, good for 2nd on the team. Eller will become the first
Danish player in Canadiens history. He made the AHL’s All Rookie Team
(along with P.K. Subban) and also played in the AHL All-Star Classic.
Schultz is a power forward who made it to the CHL’s Memorial Cup this past
season and is the brother of Washington Capitals’ d-man Jeff Schultz. In
70 games in 09-10, he picked up 55 points (24-31-55) as well as 150 PIMS while
amassing 15 points (8-7-15) and 26 PIMS in 23 WHL playoff games. In the
Memorial Cup, he had a goal and 2 assists with 2 PIMS in the Hitmen’s 4
Contract wise, Eller is under contract for 2 more seasons with a cap hit of
just over $1.27 million including bonuses. Schultz also has 2 years left
on his contract with a cap hit of $875,000.