In the offseason, the St. Louis Blues made a crucial decision to trade Brian Elliott and solidify Jake Allen as the starting goaltender for the future.
Putting the crease in the hands of a 26-year-old with under 100 games of NHL experience was a risk. Thankfully for the Blues, though, it seems to have paid off.
Allen is a quality goaltender in the league and while he is not considered elite, he gets the job done. No. 34 is able to work well with his defense to prevent the opposition from earning quality chances in the Blues’ zone.
This sequence of saves midway through a one-goal game against the Nashville Predators earlier this month is evidence. Despite intense pressure, Allen stays focused on the task at hand and never lets the puck leave his sight:
Although St. Louis went on to lose that game 6-3, Allen maintained their lead after that crucial sequence of plays in the second period. His calm approach to the highly stressful position of goalie is something that emanates through the team and increases St. Louis’ chances of success. Allen is a methodical, composed netminder with a skill set that supports his play.
He is not a goaltender with any sort of tendency to overcommit nor does he take too many risks. While that may not be the most exciting style of goaltending for fans, it helps the Blues earn points.
True Team Mentality
Another quality of No. 34 is his commitment to the team. He shows up to every game with the right mindset and rarely finds himself leaving the crease because of how well he works with his teammates. It has allowed him to help the Blues to 30 points this season, and a 15-7-0 record. He has a 2.60 goals against average and a .905 save percentage this season, an encouraging sign for his teammates.
He has thrived under his increased work load, despite not having been a designated starter before. That kind of fearlessness is something that the Blues have to be thankful for because teams follow their goaltenders. Allen has helped the Blues onto the right path.
However, that is not to say that St. Louis’ work is done. They are about to finish out the 2016 leg of the 2016-17 campaign, meaning there is a lot more hockey to be played. It will not be easy to continue on the path they are on, nor will it be a predictable race to the end of the season. With Allen in net, though, the Blues can be that much more confident that they are in the best spot possible moving forward.
Allison Scott is currently pursuing a journalism degree at the University of Missouri. She is passionate about the NHL and is a fan of both the St. Louis Blues and her hometown Dallas Stars. More articles by Allison can be found on Blackout Dallas where she covers the Stars. Follow Allison on twitter for more hockey and random tweets! @allisonnnscott