When you have Andrei Vasilevskiy starting almost every game, you don’t need a lot of work from your backup. That actually makes the role harder than it looks though, as Tampa Bay netminders often go weeks without seeing any game action. Elliott, 37, has acclimated well to that role, and is 9-3-3 this season with a .921 save percentage in his 16 appearances.
A veteran of more than 500 NHL games, “Moose” has proven he can still hang at the NHL level in his reduced role. A netminder who twice led the league in save percentage–finishing fifth in Vezina voting in 2012 and ninth in 2016–Elliott appeared to be on his way out of the league before he signed in Tampa Bay. In a more substantial role for the Philadelphia Flyers he had posted two straight sub-.900 years, though he was still able to win more games than he lost during those difficult campaigns.
Now he’ll be asked to play around 20 games again in 2022-23, and offer veteran support to one of the best goaltenders in the league. At $900K he will earn the same amount as this season and comes with basically no risk for the Lightning.
While he isn’t likely to see much action, a dozen starts could easily push Elliott up into the top-50 for all-time wins. He currently sits at No. 55 on the list, just one win behind Felix Potvin and six from Kelly Hrudey and Bernie Parent, the gatekeepers of the top-50.