27-Year-Old Goalie – St. Louis Blues
Jake Allen Contract Information:
Signed a four-year, $17.4 million contract extension with the Blues in July of 2016.
Allen will start Tuesday's preseason contest against Columbus, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Allen is finally "the man" in St. Loo, courtesy of the offseason trade that jettisoned Brian Elliott to Calgary. Can he be the guy to take the Blues to the promised land? Well, we think so and so do the Blues, including in-house goalie guru, Martin Brodeur. Allen has been in the Blues system for eight years now and we've all grown a bit weary of the waiting. But he does own 11 shutouts in 89 career games, so the talent is clearly there. But Allen has been inconsistent in his time with the Blues – there have been some deep lows to go along with those tantalizing highs. Last season, he split time with Elliott and went 26-15-3 with a 2.35 GAA and .920 save percentage. But he took a back seat to Elliott in the postseason and got just a couple starts against San Jose, the eventual winners of the West. Allen enters the season with Carter Hutton as his backup, so expect a heavy workload for the 25-year-old starter. The Blues remain a potent team and will compete for a top-four finish out west. The blue line is strong in front of him and Allen will be the backbone. Grab him early. His time has come. Just monitor his consistency – it might become a challenge in head-to-head formats where inconsistency can become an anchor pretty quickly.
Allen started last season as Brian Elliott's backup, but by season's end, he was leading the Blues into their playoff series with Minnesota after posting a 2.28 GAA and .912 save percentage on his way to 22 regular-season wins. He and Elliott will likely enter training camp in an open competition for the starter's job, but with coach Ken Hitchcock returning behind the Blues' bench, Allen may have the upper hand. Given the team's approach over the last few years, this will likely shake out as a timeshare once again, but the Blues' strong lineup should yield solid fantasy numbers for both goalies.
Even though he saw no NHL action last season after appearing in 15 games for the Blues during the lockout-shortened campaign, Allen still managed to see his prospect luster increase. As the No. 1 netminder for AHL Chicago, Allen posted a phenomenal 33-16-3 record to go along with a 2.03 GAA and .928 save percentage, earning AHL Goalie of the Year honors for his efforts. Allen’s scintillating performance undoubtedly factored into the Blues’ decision not to pursue a goalie in free agency, with the team instead re-signing top-flight backup Brian Elliott and promoting him to the No. 1 gig, while appointing the 24-year-old Allen as his understudy. Elliott’s lack of extensive experience as a full-time goalie will likely allow Allen to whittle into his start total, but both goalies should finish with a solid won/loss record to go along with strong ratios, if for no other reason than the fact they’ll be playing behind a top-flight offense and an elite defense. Elliott’s three-year deal could keep him entrenched as the starter for the life of the deal if his performance warrants it, but the goalie situation should be viewed as an apprenticeship for Allen, who will play the Cory Schneider to Elliott’s Roberto Luongo. If Allen’s transition to the NHL proves seamless in the early going, coach Ken Hitchcock may even opt for a more even split of starts between his two netminders, rather than a cut and dry No. 1/No. 2 arrangement.
Allen looked good in his NHL debut last season, posting a 2.46 GAA and a .905 save percentage. The rookie went 8-1 in his first nine starts between the pipes and showed real flashes of greatness. He first stepped in for Brian Elliott, who was sent to the minors, and then hung onto the job as Jaroslav Halak suffered what was essentially a season-ending groin injury. Expect the Blues to break camp with Halak and Elliott. But Allen will most get the call at the first sign of trouble ... or trade.
Allen, 22, is the Blues' goalie of the future and has been the past two seasons while he's honed his craft in the AHL for Peoria. After sharing the Peoria net for much of that time with Ben Bishop, Allen became the unquestioned No. 1 when the Blues traded Bishop midseason. Allen was perhaps the best goalie in the AHL during the 2010-11 season, but failed to come close to that standard last season. It wasn't until the end of January that he got his save percentage north of .900, and his goals-against average stayed above 3.00 until late March. The Rivermen weren't a great bunch in front of him, but Allen needs to play better. The poor season put a little tarnish on him. It will be good see how he bounces back from his first professional adversity. The Blues are locked in at goal for the next two years with Jaro Halak and Brian Elliott, so Allen must continue to work on his game in Peoria.
The Blues are waiting on Allen, who was a leading a goalie in the AHL for much of the season before tailing off after February. The 20-year-old was the No. 1 goalie at Peoria in his first year at the level and posted six shutouts in 47 starts. The Blues brought in veteran Brian Elliott on a two-way contract, but 2011-12 is all about giving Allen more experience. Another season as the Rivermen’s top goalie is on tap for Allen.
Allen, 20, finally arrives at the pro level in 2010 when he'll team with Ben Bishop to be the goaltending tandem for the Peoria Rivermen of the American Hockey League. He was named the goaltender of the year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, posting a 2.20 GAA and .922 save percentage. He's probably passed Bishop as a prospect and there's a chance he ends up in St. Louis in 2011, when Ty Conklin's contract expires.
It will be another year in the juniors for Allen, who has been re-assigned to Montreal Junior of the Quebeck Major Junior Hockey League. A 2008 second-round pick (34th overall), Allen is at least two years away from making an impact on the Blues roster.
Allen was a 2nd round pick (34th overall) in the 2008 Draft. He will spend another season in the QMJHL with the hope of making it to the NHL soon after that. He is behind Ben Bishop who is another young goaltender on the Blues Depth Chart at this time.