Brian Elliott will be bringing more than his equipment and confidence to Ottawa for the Jan. 29 NHL All-Star Game.
The former Senators goalie on Wednesday added some job security to his name by signing a two-year contract with the St. Louis Blues, who signed Elliott as a free agent last July.
"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."
'He's the perfect example of perseverance. He just had to become more compact in his game, and he's done that, he's done it beautifully.'— Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock on goalie Brian Elliott
Elliott’s one-year, free-agent contract with a modest salary cap hit of $600,000 was set to expire at the end of this season.
The $3.6 million US 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."
Happy to stay
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 ranks second in the NHL this season in goals-against average at 1.68 to go with a 15-5-1 record, .937 save percentage and a career high-tying five shutouts.
Besides allowing the fewest goals (36) among netminders with at least 20 starts, he is the league’s top goalie on home ice (9-1-1) and became the first goalie in Blues history to earn wins in his first four starts of a season, setting that mark on Oct. 26.
With a combined 1.98 GAA, Elliott and Halak are tied for first in GAA and hold the outright NHL lead with eight shutouts.
"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." Drafted in the ninth round, 291st overall by the Ottawa Senators in 2003, Elliott spent parts of four seasons in the nation's capital. He was traded to the Colorado Avalanche last season in the deal that brought fellow goalie Craig Anderson to Ottawa.
Elliott’s only bona fide season as a starter was in 2009-10 for the Senators when he played in 55 games, notched 29 wins and posted a .909 save percentage.
"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."With files from The Associated Press