Blues’ Allen Should Embrace Brodeur’s Presence

Whether or not Martin Brodeur becomes a mainstay for the St. Louis Blues, his presence in team practices the past few days was and is hopefully being used as a learning opportunity for young Jake Allen. Team management isn’t being shy about the reality of Allen eventually taking over full-time in the St. Louis net. Now, with the door opening a little earlier than anticipated on the heels of the Brian Elliott injury, Allen’s new position in the spotlight allows management and fans to watch his development. There are few guys in the League that could step in a better time than Brodeur.

Brodeur’s fundamentals are top-notch

Unlike some NHL goalies where their style simply cannot be taught, Martin Brodeur’s hybrid style and the elements found within it are simple and classic things that a modern goalie like Allen can build upon in his own game. Besides new mechanics, Brodeur’s insight into stressful game situations and identifying scoring threats is second-to-none. Even if Brodeur plays in 20-25 games, it’s less than Elliott probably would have played over the same amount of time, representing an educational opportunity Allen should embrace. In practices, between the tutelage of Brodeur and goalie coach Jim Corsi, any goalie — including Elliott, who is still relatively young although experienced — should get better in ways large and small.

devils win 2012
Brodeur celebrates with teammates after ousting the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2012 Eastern Semis. (Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE)

Brodeur’s here to play

All the wistful talk about Brodeur’s experience, resume and knowledge base shouldn’t overshadow the fact that he’s here to start. He’s said in the past that he doesn’t expect to play “much”, but in goalie parlance that means trying to get on the ice as much as he can through earning it. Realistically, the 20-25 that’s expected by many could change rapidly if the old Marty rears his head and he plays like the 2003 Marty — the last time the Devils won the Stanley Cup. It’s easy to forget that Brodeur led a surprising Devils team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012, winning two games against a Kings team that wasn’t doing much losing in the postseason. There’s an aire of confidence and awe that a guy like Brodeur brings to any team, with players speaking in reverent and hushed tones in his presence. When grown NHLers are asking for a teammate’s autograph, something special is in the air. Fans should not be shocked if Brodeur wrests the starter’s role from Allen who, if we’re honest, primarily has it because he’s the goalie in the system with the most NHL games under his belt.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored 21 goals last season (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
Allen’s character will probably see Brodeur’s presence on the team as a net positive.  (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

The only goalie that should be concerned is Brian Elliott

OK, perhaps that’s overstated a little. But let’s be honest — Jake Allen isn’t going anywhere. Brian Elliott’s primary concern, other than the true status of his lower-body injury, is the prospect of missing the remainder of the season. Nobody is talking about this, but should Brodeur come in, play lights out (including a deep playoff run should he get the reins, which according to Ken Hitchcock he probably would), Allen is in a good spot. If Marty can continue to play at a high enough level over 20-25, that makes Elliott expendable while Allen continues to carve out the starter’s role as his own. Even if Marty takes over and roles are reversed, Allen will still be here in two or three years. With a little personnel management finesse, this potentially awkward scenario could be massaged into a positive situation for all involved. Even if Elliott finds himself on the outside looking in, he has finally earned the reputation as a 1A starter, respect that’s way overdue in his career. Regardless of how it all pans out, the team is in great shape with whichever tandem hits the ice in the next few weeks.

6 thoughts on “Blues’ Allen Should Embrace Brodeur’s Presence”

  1. Brodeur’s fundamentals are faulty. Aside from puck handling, his game is riddled with problems. He has no ground game, and recovers on the wrong foot. His depth selection is a problem he’s working on. He also has no interest in coaching after hockey, let alone mentoring his competition for the starter’s role. His numbers are below league average for the last 4 seasons (Schneider’s were well above league average last year, to give the most direct comparison), and he hasn’t played at all through the first quarter of this season. He is no Jacques Plante, This is a terrible idea.

    • He’s not a butterfly goalie, so most of the issues you discuss are inapplicable at best. Thanks for your perspective.

  2. Whoa whoa whoa. Brodeur has a teachable style, while the rest of the league doesn’t? I think you got that a bit flip flopped. Guys like Brodeur and Hasek, are the ones whom don’t have a discernible and teachable method of stopping the puck. It’s nitty gritty, down and dirty, and above all, effective. The problem in modern goaltending, is the development and subsequent over usage of point A to point B, robotic and measured save execution. It’s the older guys who relied more on the read and react, stop it at any cost mindset. Both schools of thought have a place, and need to be utilized. But to say Brodeur and his old school compatriots have a teachable method of stopping the puck- outside of the fundamentals that is, is an unenlightened opinion. Cmon bro, you play goal, you should know this. I can’t see where you say he has a teachable style, yet other net minders in the league do not. That is contrary to reality.

    • “Unlike some NHL goalies where their style simply cannot be taught, Martin Brodeur’s hybrid style and the elements found within it are simple and classic things that a modern goalie like Allen can build upon in his own game.”

      Not sure where I said anything resembling what you said. The reference was directed towards guys like Joseph and Hasek in particular (two others from Brodeur’s era), that could never be goalie coaches since their styles are heavily personalized and without a “system.” Today’s goaltending is very formulaic, and something shooters learn quickly. Adding some old school unpredictability, mixed with Brodeur’s classic style, should add another set of tools for Allen’s natural skill set. Of course today’s systems are “teachable,” but that’s part of the problem.

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