I subjectively consider an elite goaltender to be someone who is routinely in the top 10 at the position year after year. Halak's not that guy.
With that said, he absolutely is a #1 goaltender in this league. He's in that sizeable tier of goaltenders a step below the elite with the Jimmy Howards of the NHL and whatnot. Capable of being in the top 10 any given year, and capable of getting hot and stealing a playoff series, but with big enough flaws/inconsistencies that they won't do it year after year. More than good enough to win a championship behind a solid team.
He's not a guy you're happy to pay $4.5+ million for, because there are 10-15 guys in the NHL just like him. On the other hand, you can do a lot worse if you simply cut him loose without having a reliable plan B already in hand. Upgrading from him to a truly elite goaltender is going to cost a hell of a lot of money and/or assets, and probably isn't a realistic option.
Given a choice between rolling with Halak or Allen next year as the #1, I would choose Halak and it's not even really close for me. I think people are reading way too much into what's going on this year. Halak's played all of 15 games this season. I don't care how bad he's played, that's a ridiculous number of games to formulate a long-term opinion of a player off of...even moreso given the circumstances surrounding the season.
Well he would have had more games had he not gotten hurt or played like crap the other games.
That's why he hasn't played much in this condensed season. In a normal season, things would be different.
Regardless, that has nothing to do with the greater point that people around here are generally making way too much out of a 15 game sample size. He has a very solid 200+ game NHL resume, and he's only 27 years old. Anyone who is looking at the big picture should be taking what's happened to date this year with a big grain of salt.
Halak is not an elite Goalie but he is a #1. His glove and the mental side of his game keeps him from being elite. He is an average starting goalie who may have some elite seasons and streaks but not enough to say he is an elite goalie.
Halak doesn't have good fundamentals. He's lousy with his glove, doesn't play the puck all that well and has terrible rebound control. He loses concentration at times. He's far from elite.
16 post in and we have a winner, but just reading that he has only played 15 games does give me some more confidence in the guy. We all know he takes a while to get going, but he needs to get hot quick.
I think hes more like Andy Murray is as a coach. Good for tournament style play, but just not sure he can carry the load for a full season like Fuhr or Cujo did, and still have anything left i tnhe tank. With that being said, if he can split the season like he did last year, and be some what rested going into the playoffs, I think he could be dangerous in the playoff format like he was in Montreal, and even last yearm he was playing well until the injury.
Halak, in my humble opinion, has never been comfortable here. Last season was a mirage and so was the play of Elliott in hindsight, with the system Hitchcock implemented. Obviously, it's not working this season.