St. Louis Blues’ goaltender Jake Allen can’t seem to get his act together.
In his six seasons with the Blues, he has been extremely inconsistent. He has shown flashes of both brilliance and incompetence and unfortunately for the Blues, he is currently displaying the latter in the early going this season.
One of the main reasons why the Blues have yet to win (as of October 11, they are 0-1-1) is because of Allen’s poor play. In two games this season, Allen is 0-1-1 with a 4.92 goals against average and a .818 save percentage.
While the two games the team has played has come against good teams in the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks, it does not excuse Allen’s troubling play. He looks like he lacks confidence, is getting beat on shots he should stop, and is once again showing the franchise that he may not be the right guy to carry the load between the pipes.
For Allen and the Blues, this is actually nothing new. In fact, this kind of play from Allen has been trending in the wrong direction since last year and at least right now, no one knows if or when he is going to snap out of it.
Last year, the Blues should have made the playoffs. Unfortunately, Allen’s play between the pipes held them back and now, one has to wonder if that is going to be the case this season.
The Blues didn’t miss the playoffs by much last season because they had a security blanket in Carter Hutton. When Allen was struggling, Hutton stepped up in a big way and kept the Blues afloat.
The team does not have that luxury right now. Behind Allen is career backup goaltender Chad Johnson.
While Johnson has had a pretty solid career in that role (78-61-15 with a 2.68 goals against average, a .910 save percentage, and 7 shutouts), he is not better than Hutton. Hutton ended up playing in a lot of big games last season and for the most part, did what he had to do to keep his team in every game. It will be interesting to see if Johnson could do that this season if need be.
With that said, the Blues shouldn’t really be in this situation to begin with when it comes to Allen. Two years ago, the Blues signed Allen to a four-year, $17.4 million contract extension.
At the time, this seemed like the right move as the team allowed former starting goaltender Brian Elliott to move on to the Calgary Flames. As it turns out, the move hasn’t worked as planned for Allen or the Blues.
This will be interesting to watch unfold this year. Will Allen find a way to be the starting netminder he needs to be or will he continue to flounder and put his team in a difficult situation?
If it ends up being the latter, do not be surprised if the Blues try to do something with Allen whether it’s through trade, going to the minors, etc. The Blues and Allen need to try and figure out a way to fix his problems.
At this moment, he simply cannot be trusted when in the Blues’ net and that needs to be rectified quickly or else the Blues will find themselves golfing in April for the second straight season.
Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch