Last night at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft the St. Louis Blues traded away goaltender Brian Elliott to the Calgary Flames. In exchange they got a second round pick in today’s draft, which turned out to be Jordan Kyrou, and a conditional pick in the 2018 draft.
While the goaltending tandem of Elliott and Jake Allen has come to an end, it doesn’t mean clear sailing ahead for No. 34 because the pressure is on.
Nothing is Guaranteed
The NHL is a highly competitive atmosphere and goaltending may very well be the most competitive position of them all. Each team has a maximum of two net minders, meaning only sixty players have the status of NHL goaltender. Half of those, however, ride the bench more often than not.
Although Jake Allen is the only NHL proven goaltender on the Blues’ current roster, it doesn’t guarantee him the position as starter. There are a number of opportunities at hand for the Blues to acquire a new player and if Allen doesn’t play to the best of his ability, St. Louis will have no choice but to go in another direction.
Allen isn’t a rookie goalie anymore. He played the majority of the season last year for the Blues and will be expected to perform at an even higher level in the upcoming campaign. While he doesn’t have the NHL experience that most starters do, he’ll have to fake it until he makes it so the Blues can have success.
Last year Elliott beat out Allen for the role as starter in the postseason and was a big reason the Blues beat out their Central Division rivals in the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars. A similar dominating performance will be required if Allen maintains his assumed position as starter in the upcoming season.
Free Agency Around the Corner
With that said, nothing is certain in the NHL. Free agency will begin on July 1st and there could potentially be blockbuster trades that manifest before the puck drops on the 2016-17 NHL season. That means Jake Allen may find himself either starting the season as the back-up, or once again fighting it out in a goaltending tandem for St. Louis.
The biggest name being thrown around in the goaltending sphere right now is Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop and with saves like this who could blame them.
He’s a net minder with a lot of talent and he covers the net incredibly well consider he stands 6 foot 7 and weighs in at 215 pounds. If St. Louis is dedicated to finding a new goaltender and pursues Bishop, it could mean Allen’s dream of being a starter goes to the back burner.
The Blues have a lot of tough decisions to make before the season begins and anything could happen. With the rumors surrounding defender Kevin Shattenkirk swirling and now the trade involving Brian Elliott a lot is up in the air.
Blues fans just have to have confidence that all of the choices being made, regardless of how unfavorable or hard to swallow they might be, are for the best interest of the team moving forward. That includes having confidence that Jake Allen could be a quality starter come fall if St. Louis elects to give him a shot.
What do you think of the Elliott trade? Is Allen ready to be an NHL starter full-time? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
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