An argument could be made that now is the time for the St. Louis Blues to trade either goalie Jake Allen or, more likely, Brian Elliott given that both of them are going into the final season of their respective contracts, but Doug Armstrong is perfectly happy with the current situation.
“I like our goaltending,” Armstrong told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I think Jake is still pushing towards being an upper-echelon goalie. He lost the net this year, Brian took it, Brian didn’t give it up. Kudos to Brian for that. I know what’s happening now Jake is preparing to wrestle it back in September, and we’re going to see how it goes down. But I would have zero issue if both of these guys came back and were asked to compete and fight.”
Having two viable starting goaltenders can lead to headaches when determining who plays in any given game and it can result in a lot of second guessing, but it’s also an ideal insurance policy. Both Allen and Elliott suffered significant injuries during the 2015-16 campaign, which might have been a problem if not for the presence of the other. With the way their injuries split, either Elliott or Allen was still available for each game and that led to St. Louis being one of the stingiest teams in terms of goals allowed.
This arrangement probably won’t last past 2016-17 as Elliott, 31, will be an unrestricted free agent and likely expect a sizable raise from his current $2.5 million annual cap hit. Allen will only be a restricted free agent, but he should similarly be due a raise from his $2.35 million cap hit. As a result, if neither gets traded and both continue to perform as they have been, it’s likely Elliott will be allowed to walk for cap reasons and then Allen will become the team’s clear starter.