May 13, 1985 |
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||183 lb (83 kg; 13 st 1 lb)|
St. Louis Blues
|NHL Draft||271st overall, 2003
Jaroslav Halák (Slovak pronunciation: [ˈjaroslav ˈɦalaːk]; born May 13, 1985) is a Slovak professional ice hockey goaltender currently playing for the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL). Halák was the 271st overall pick by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
In the midst of a stellar season with the Montreal Canadiens' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, Halák was called up to the Canadiens on February 15, 2007, after an injury to Montreal's starting goaltender, Cristobal Huet. At the time of his call-up, Halák had a 2.00 goals against average (GAA) with the Bulldogs, the lowest in the AHL. He played his first NHL game on February 18, 2007, stopping 31 shots in a 3–2 road win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Halák earned his first career NHL shutout on March 20, 2007, making thirty saves to keep the rival Boston Bruins off the board with a 1–0 victory. Halák's great play towards the end of the 2006–07 season helped keep Montreal in a fight for a playoff spot despite the injury to Huet.
Halák was assigned to the Bulldogs for the majority of the 2007–08 season. However, after the Canadiens traded Huet on February 26, 2008, Halák took over full-time as the Canadiens back-up goaltender. He started his first playoff game on April 30, 2008 against the Philadelphia Flyers (a 4–2 loss) after sub-par performances from newly appointed starter Carey Price, who once again took over in the following game.
Halák fulfilled back-up duties for the Canadiens into the 2009–10 season. However, Halák's strong play coupled with inconsistent performances from Price led to an opportunity for Halák to step into a larger role. Ultimately, based on his strong play for the Habs and for Slovakia at the Vancouver Olympics, there was a strong internal push to designate Halák the starting goaltender for the Habs.
Halák went on to be named the Montreal Canadiens' Molson Cup Player of the Year for the 2009–10 season and was designated the starter heading into their first-round playoff match-up against the President's Trophy-winning Washington Capitals. In the sixth game of the series, Halák stopped 53 shots to set a club record for a playoff game (in regulation-time), leading the Canadiens to a 4–1 victory. Ultimately, the Canadiens overcame a 3–1 series deficit to win the series in seven games, marking one of the biggest upsets in NHL history. The win was attributed largely to Halák's play as he turned aside 131 of Washington's 134 shots in games 5 through 7, frustrating the league's top scoring team from the regular season. The Canadiens moved on to face the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round, and defeated them in seven games as well, marking a second consecutive major upset. Montreal won the decisive game 5–2, and Halák was named the first star. The Canadiens faced the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference Final, and their surprising playoff-run came to an end with a 4–1 series loss.
St. Louis Blues
At the conclusion of the 2009–10 season, both Halák and Carey Price became restricted free agents and a great goaltending debate emerged in Montreal over who would remain with the team, playoff-hero Halák, or the younger Price. After weeks of media speculation the Canadiens chose Price and on June 17 controversially traded Halák to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for two prospects, center Lars Eller and right-winger Ian Schultz (brother of Jeff Schultz). On July 6, 2010, Halák signed a four year $15 million contract with the Blues. Prior to the 2010–11 season, Halák held an autograph-signing in Montreal as a farewell and goodwill gesture, to thank fans for their support as well as to raise funds for the Montreal Ste-Justine Children's Hospital. Though 500 fans were expected, more than 5000 fans attended the event held at the Fairview Pointe-Claire mall, testifying to his popularity with Canadiens fans.
Halák played his first game as a Blue on October 9, 2010, earning a 2–1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in St. Louis. Halák would collect his first shutout with the Blues on October 23, 2010 at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins, stopping 31 shots in a 1–0 overtime victory. Halák would go on to be named one of the NHL's Stars of the Week. Halak had a quick start in St. Louis going 8–1–1 and currently is sharing the number 1 role in St. Louis with Brian Elliott. In the 2011–2012 NHL season, Halak, along with Brian Elliott, was awarded the William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest amount of goals (165 collectively) in the regular season.
Prior to the 2013–14 trade deadline, the Blues traded Halák along with Chris Stewart, William Carrier and first-round draft pick in 2015 and a conditional third-round draft pick in 2014 to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Ryan Miller and Steve Ott on February 28, 2014. If Ryan Miller signs a contract with the Blues, Buffalo will receive a first-round pick in 2016 instead of the third-round pick. 
Halák did not appear in a game for the Sabres and was ultimately dealt along with a third round draft pick to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Michal Neuvirth and Rostislav Klesla at the trade deadline. Halák did dress for the Sabres as the backup goaltender in one game, making him the 10th player in Sabres history to dress for the team in a regular-season game but not play.
Halák has represented Slovakia internationally on numerous occasions. He first played for his country at the IIHF World U20 Championship, starting every game for the team in both the 2004 and 2005 tournaments, where the team finished 6th and 7th, respectively. Halák's first senior international experience came in 2007 as he played in the 2007 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships, starting 2 games and earning a 1–1 record. The Slovaks finished in 6th place. Halák again represented Slovakia at the 2009 tournament, where the team finished a disappointing 10th overall.
In February 2010, Halák was named the starting goaltender for the Slovak national team in the 2010 Winter Olympics. He stopped 36 of 37 shots in a preliminary round victory against a strong Russian team, and went on to start every game for the Slovaks. Halák and his teammates finished a surprising 4th overall in the tournament after losing against Finland in the bronze medal match. This was the best finish ever for Slovakia at the Olympics, one spot better than their 5th place finish at the 2006 Olympics.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2014)|
Halak plays the style that is now the norm in the NHL; however, some have come to notice how much he stands up to make saves. Halak made a number of saves standing up in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Awards and achievements
- 2011–12 NHL season – William M. Jennings Trophy (lowest GAA)
- St. Louis Blues career shutouts leader (17)
|2003–04||HC Slovan Bratislava||SVK||12||—||—||—||651||18||0||1.66||.942|
|2005–06||Long Beach Ice Dogs||ECHL||20||11||4||2||1026||35||2||2.05||.932|
|2010–11||St. Louis Blues||NHL||57||27||21||7||3294||136||7||2.48||.910|
|2011–12||St. Louis Blues||NHL||46||26||12||7||2747||90||6||1.97||.926|
|2012–13||St. Louis Blues||NHL||16||6||5||1||813||29||3||2.14||.899|
|2013–14||St. Louis Blues||NHL||40||24||9||4||2238||83||4||2.23||.917|
|2003–04||HC Slovan Bratislava||SVK||1||—||—||45||6||62||0||8.00||.903|
|2005–06||Long Beach Ice Dogs||ECHL||4||2||2||252||13||144||0||3.09||.910|
|2011–12||St. Louis Blues||NHL||2||1||1||104||3||46||0||1.73||.935|
|Senior International Totals||21||7||12||0||1178||55||2||2.80||.898|
- "Halak comes up huge as Canadiens force game 7". TSN. 2010-04-27.
- "Montreal Canadiens eliminate Washington Capitals". The Oakland Press. 2010-04-29.
- "Halak, Canadiens knock Ovechkin, top-seeded Capitals out of postseason". ESPN. 2010-04-28.
- "Canadiens continue their role as giant-killer". NY Times. 2010-05-12.
- "Canadiens stun Penguins 5–2 in game 7". NHL. 2010-05-13.
- "Philadelphia Flyers defeat Montreal Canadiens to advance to Stanley Cup finals". Washington Post. 2010-05-25.
- "Canadiens deal goaltender Halak to Blues". TSN. 2010-06-17.
- "Halak signs 4-year, $15 million contract with Blues". TSN. 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
- "Ex Habs goalie Halak draws big crowd for farewell autographs". TSN. 2010-09-04. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
- "Bourque, Halak and Stamkos named 'Three Stars'". NHL. 2010-10-25.
- "Sabres deal Miller, Ott to Blues for Halak, Stewart, Picks". The Sports Network. 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- "Sabres trade Halak to Capitals". TSN.ca. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- Buffalo Sabres public relations department on Twitter
- "2007 IIHF World Championship". IIHF.
- "2009 IIHF World Championship". IIHF.
- "Finland defeats Slovakia to capture hockey bronze". TSN. 2010-02-28.
- Jaroslav Halák's player profile at TSN.ca
- Jaroslav Halák's career statistics at The Internet Hockey Database
|Awards and achievements|
|Winner of the William M. Jennings Trophy with Brian Elliott