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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Canadiens Deal Halak to Blues for Eller, Schultz

In a surprising trade this afternoon, the Montreal Canadiens have dealt goaltender Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for prospect forwards Lars Eller and Ian Schultz. The move comes approximately one month after Halak helped lead the Canadiens to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they were defeated in five games by the Philadelphia Flyers. In 45 games last season with the Canadiens, Halak went 26-13-5, posted five shutouts, a 2.40 GAA, and a .924 save percentage. Eller appeared in seven games with the Blues last season, scoring two goals. He also played in 70 games with Peoria of the AHL, scoring 18 goals and 39 assists for 57 points. Schultz appeared in 70 games last season with Calgary of the WHL, scoring 24 goals and 31 assists for 55 points and 150 penalty minutes. This is a great trade for the Blues, as Halak's fine play in the regular season and playoffs has made him a great starting goaltender, so he should be an excellent fit for the team. However, I'm really surprised the Canadiens decided to trade Halak in the end. Price seemed like the odd man out after struggling during the regular season and after Halak's stellar performance in the playoffs. The pressure is definitely going to be on Price next season to carry the Canadiens, and if he fails to improve his play, the team is going to be in trouble in net. Eller has really good playmaking skills and plenty of offensive upside, so he should be a good fit on the Canadiens in the future. Schultz has plenty of offensive skill and toughness, so he should be able to crack Montreal's lineup down the road.

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