Jaroslav Halak was rewarded by the St. Louis Blues for the great playoff run he had with the Montreal Canadiens.
The Blues signed Halak, 25, to a four-year contract worth $15-million (all currency U.S.) on Tuesday and he will be their starting goaltender next season. As is starting to become common in the NHL, the deal was announced on Twitter by Halak's agent, Allan Walsh of the Octagon agency.
"St. Louis made a major commitment to him and Jaro [Halak]is thrilled," Walsh's message said.
The contract carries a salary-cap hit of $3.75-million per year for four years, which will be a bargain if Halak maintains the level of play he showed in the 2010 playoffs. In actual salary, he will earn $2.75-million in the coming season, $3.5-million in 2011-12, $4.25-million in 2012-13 and $4.5-million in the final year of the contract.
Halak became Montreal's favourite athlete during the spring when he led the Canadiens to the NHL's Eastern Conference final after winning the No. 1 goaltender's job from Carey Price late in the season. He was the major reason the Canadiens upset the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first two rounds and finished the playoffs with a .923 save percentage and 2.55 goals-against average.
However, since both Halak and Price became restricted free agents on July 1, the Canadiens were forced by salary cap considerations to trade one of them. Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier shocked and angered the fans when he elected to keep Price and traded Halak's rights to the Blues for forwards Lars Eller and Ian Schultz.
In his 101 regular-season games over the last four years, the native of Bratislava, Slovakia has a 56-34-7 record with a .919 save percentage and 2.62 goals-against average.