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Brian Elliott traded to Flames; why did Blues deal fan favorite?

BUFFALO, NY – Marc-Andre Fleury would have meant trading a first-rounder. Ben Bishop would have meant a significant investment in both trade assets and cap space. 

But Brian Elliott? Right cost. Right return. But is he the right goalie?

The Calgary Flames traded a second-round pick, No. 35 overall and a conditional third-rounder in 2018, to the St. Louis Blues for Elliott. Elliott, 31, has one more year on his contract with a paltry $2.5 million cap hit before he goes UFA. The third-rounder goes to St. Louis if he signs with the Flames or they trade him. 

Elliott played 180 games with the Blues over five seasons, going 104-46-16 with a .925 save percentage and a 2.01 goals-against average behind coach Ken Hitchcock’s system.

Elliott is coming off the playoff season of his life in 2016: .921 save percentage, 2.44 goals-against average and series wins against the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars, both in Game 7.

It was a surprising move given those efforts, and the fact that the Blues had committed to one more run with Hitchcock behind the bench.

But Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch reported earlier on Friday that it was a possibility:

Calgary really wants a goalie and the Flames GM says he's not leaving Buffalo without one. Well, there are only a few available, such as Ben Bishop, Marc-Andre Fleury and perhaps Brian Elliott. When I talked to Armstrong last week about the Blues goalies and keeping both, he said: "You never say never." He also said that the Blues could get creative and try to keep Backes and Brouwer, and one of the only few ways that's possible would be trading Elliott. He doesn't have a big cap hit ($2.5 million), but every little bit helps. Definitely something to watch tonight.

Watch we did, and away went Elliott.

So Calgary gets a very nice veteran solution in goal, but one that isn’t going to require the financial and term commitment that Bishop would have – not to mention the freight going back the other way. Smart, shrewd move. He's a steady hand that the Flames need back there, at least until blue-chipper Jon Gillies is ready. 

But the real intrigue is what the Blues up doing in goal. Is this Jake Allen’s show? Or will there be another veteran co-star on the way?

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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