The Tampa Bay Lightning have announced that they have re-signed goaltender Brian Elliott to a one-year contract. The contract is a one-way deal that will pay him $900,000 for the 2022-23 season which is the same as what he made this season. Over a 15 year NHL career, Elliott has posted a 265-158-52 record in 470 starts and 518 appearances. He has a career .911 save percentage and 2.52 GAA with 43 career shutouts. This season for the Lightning, he’s started 14 games and made 16 appearances for a 9-3-3 record with a .921 SV% and 2.23 GAA with one shutout.
At 37-years-old (his birthday was April 9th), it was certainly an open question if Elliott would continue his NHL career. The rigors of playing the game can really take it’s toll especially on the hips and knees, it’s tough for goaltenders to keep going at his age. Despite that Elliott has put in a very impressive year for the Lightning as the back-up to Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Elliott, also known as Moose to his teammates, was originally a 9th round pick in 2003 by the Ottawa Senators. Prior to entering the league he spent four years at the University of Wisconsin. The back plate of his mask features a Moose as well as the W logo for the University of Wisconsin to represent his collect and his nickname.
Elliott made his debut in 2007-08 with the Ottawa Senators and has also appeared in the NHL for the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames, and Philadelphia Flyers before comings to the Lightning. Elliott and goaltender Jaroslav Halak are the only players drafted after the 7th round (9th round for both) to play in the NHL this season as the 8th and 9th round of the draft were cut after the 2004-05 NHL lockout.
According to Evolving-Hockey.com, Elliott has posted 3.23 Goals Saved Above Expected in all situations. This shows that he’s saving more goals than he should and performing at an above average level. It’s also not a stretch to say that Elliott has been the best back-up goaltender the Lightning have had since Andrei Vasilevskiy took over as the starter full-time in 2017-18 following the departure of Ben Bishop.
Since Vasilevskiy became the full-time starter, only Louis Domingue in 2017-18 and Elliott this season have posted positive GSAx numbers among the Lightning’s back-ups. In 12 games in 2017-18, Domingue put up 4.15 GSAx. However, Domingue took a major step back in the 2018-19 season and was -8.12 GSAx in 2018-19, though he did post an impressive W-L record due to the incredible goal support that he got throughout his 26 games.
Elliott has been solid all year for the Lightning. He hasn’t played much, though it does look like he’ll be picking up some more starts in the final stretch of the season to give Vasilevskiy some much needed rest before the playoffs start. Elliott also has a decent amount of playoff experience with 48 games, though his results have been fairly poor except for one deep run with the Blues in 2015-16. With Elliott, and especially how well he’s played in recent games, I have some confidence that if something were to happen to Vasilevskiy, he could step in and carry the load, at least for a short time.
Re-signing Elliott takes care of one piece of off-season business for general manager Julien BriseBois and gives him a little more cost certainty during the free agent season this summer.