After stating at the end of this season that rookie goaltender Jake Allen will have a chance to compete for starts next season, St. Louis Blues GM Doug
Armstrong sort of made it clear that one of his two pending free agent goalies will not be resigned by the club. And when 29-year-old former All-Star Brian Elliott signed a three-year extension with the Blues for a total of $7.5 million (according to Jeremy Rutherford of St. Louis Post-Dispatch), all signs are pointing to starter Ryan Miller not returning to St. Louis next season.
After having a great season with the Buffalo Sabres up until the trade deadline, Miller was dealt in a blockbuster trade to St. Louis along with Steve Ott for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, and some draft picks. It was a huge gamble for Armstrong at the time, but it seemed to pay off early as Miller looked nearly unstoppable.
However, after finishing the season on a six-game losing streak, St. Louis had to face defending champions Chicago Blackhawks instead of a wild card team and ultimately lost, leaving questions on how clutch the team is and needing offence. All this was happening while Allen was leading the Chicago Wolves into the AHL playoffs with a 2.03 GAA and .928 save percentage in the regular season.
Elliott backed up Halak, and then Miller for most of the year, and has been with the Blues since the 2011-12 season. Since being drafted in the ninth round in 2003, Elliott has been one of the streakiest goaltenders in the league, going from minor-leaguer to backup to All-Star to backup at least once. The Blues just hope he can stay consistent as a borderline starter for them next season as Allen can get come in.
So where does Miller go? The 33-year-old will definitely be one of the most sought-after free agents on the market, but who needs a starter? The Washington Capitals may not re-sign Halak, Carolina may not have too much trust in Cam Ward, while the New York Islanders, the Minnesota Wild, and the Vancouver Canucks could also go for him.