The question came across my Twitter timeline during Saturday night’s Flyers-Habs tilt.
“So who would you rather have – Halak or Eller? I’d say Halak up to this year but Eller is coming into his own,” tweeted Russell Jones.
The Danish Kid sure is. Eller has three goals and two assists in his first two games, and he’s anchoring by far the most dynamic line on the Habs right now, with a pair of under-aged wingers in Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher. The Kid Line has just been terrific this week. All three have looked amazing – Gally has two goals and Chucky has four assists.
(In case you’re living in a cave, Montreal beat Phillie 4-1 Saturday, showing that when they play, rather than fight, they can do just fine, thank you very much.)
So right now you gotta think the answer to the question right at this exact second is – Eller! Even I have to admit that and longtime readers of this blog will know that I am a huge Halak fan with gusts up to fan-boy. One of my favourite tweets following a soft Price goal is – ‘Halak would’ve saved that’.
But I am big enough to admit Eller looks like the real deal this year. In the highly entertaining first episode of 24CH, one of his team-mates quipped, on seeing a bare-chested Eller walk into the gym, ‘It’s The Terminator’. He’s beefed up and he no longer looks like the skinny-malinky fellow who first turned up following the Halak-Eller trade, looking more like the singer in an alt-rock band than an NHL player.
So I’m on the Eller bandwagon. But the cool thing is that it’s been a very good week for both Eller and Halak. Jaro shut-out the Florida Panthers Saturday, with the Blues blanking the Panthers 7-zip and in the process he set a franchise record, with his 17th shutout for the Blues. He passed Hall of Fame goalie Glenn Hall, who previously held the Blues shutout record.
Halak has won both his games with the Blues this season and has a 1.00 GAA and a .959 save percentage. This comes after a tough season for Halak where he only played 16 games due to a couple of groin injuries and famously got into a big fight with coach Ken Hitchcock when he didn’t get to be between the pipes in the playoffs. But since then, Hitchcock has said Halak is his No. 1 guy and that Brian Elliott is the backup.
So maybe it’s one of those trades that’s worked out for both clubs. Let’s check back in 40 games. But as much as I like Eller, I can’t guarantee that I’ll stop making my Halak/Price jokes.