Tag: Jake Allen

Carolina Hurricanes v St Louis Blues

Poll: Allen or Elliott or neither?


Ah, the age-old debate in St. Louis.

To refresh your memory, the Blues’ goaltending soap opera was alive and well in 2014-15. Veteran Brian Elliott went into the season as the No. 1. Yada, yada, yada, by late March, less than a month to go until the postseason, he still was.

And then Blues coach Ken Hitchcock changed his mind and gave the starting job to young Jake Allen.

It did not go well for Allen in the playoffs. The youngster finished the six-game loss to the Wild with a .904 save percentage, leaving Hitchcock to defend his decision during yet another lengthy offseason for the club.

“I get the fact there were three goals that went in that were ugly,” the coach said. “That’s the growth of a young player.”

Hitchcock continued, “We got two guys who are more than capable of carrying the load here. I think goaltending is going to be our strength moving forward. We’ve got a young guy emerging and a veteran guy who’s on top of his game right now and playing the best of his career.”

Both Elliott, 30, and Allen, 25, are signed for two more seasons.

Which begs our poll question:

P.S. — We considered giving the option of “Just ride the hot hand — whoever’s playing the best at the time,” but that’s too easy.

Related: After Miller (and many others) failed, Blues turn to Elliott and Allen

It’s St. Louis Blues day at PHT

Ken Hitchcock

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The St. Louis Blues day.

Another strong regular season followed by an early playoff exit. Business as usual for the St. Louis Blues, right?

Well, maybe. You get the sense that the 2015-16 season is an ultimatum, with the T.J. Oshie trade being a warning: this might be the last shot for many, perhaps including head coach Ken Hitchcock.

On paper, there’s still a lot of promise in St. Louis.

Vladimir Tarasenko tore onto the scene as a true elite sniper in 2015-16, and he was paid handsomely for it. Jaden Schwartz lacks some of the sizzle, but he’s a blue chip of his own. There’s some uncertainty for the likes of David Backes, but let’s not forget that St. Louis scored 248 goals last season, more than any other Western Conference playoff squad.

Of course, a Hitch-helmed team is expected to be stout defensively, and the Blues boast two fantastic blueliners in Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo.

The two-headed dragon setup remains in net with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen, but hey, at least they like each other.

Off-season recap

As mentioned above, the Blues re-upped with expected cornerstones Allen and Tarasenko. They also parted ways with Oshie and Barret Jackman.

St. Louis actually looks pretty similar heading into 2015-16, but young players could up the ante quite a bit. Could someone like Robby Fabbri and/or Ty Rattie become difference-makers for the Blues? Training camp might help decide that, but their development is one of the more important aspects of this off-season.

If fear isn’t enough of a motivator, there’s also avoiding sights like these in the future:

Blues re-sign Allen for two years

Jake Allen

Jake Allen has signed a two-year contract extension with the St. Louis Blues, the club announced today.

The deal is reportedly worth $4.7 million, with a salary of $2.2 million next season and $2.5 million in 2016-17.

Allen was a restricted free agent. The 24-year-old goalie went 22-7-4 during the regular season, with a .913 save percentage. He then had his struggles in the playoffs (.904 in six starts) as the Blues were eliminated in the first round.

Next season, Allen and Brian Elliott, also under contract for two more years, will once again compete for the starting role.

“We believe that we have two good goaltenders and training camp is going to decide who plays opening night,” GM Doug Armstrong said recently. “That’s how I see it from my perspective.”

Coach Ken Hitchcock believes that what Allen experienced in the playoffs will help him going forward.

“I get the fact there were three goals that went in that were ugly,” Hitchcock said in May. “That’s the growth of a young player.”

Allen will still be an RFA when his contract expires.

Florida first: Ekblad takes home Calder Memorial Trophy


Aaron Ekblad is the first defenseman since Tyler Myers (2009-10) to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie.

The blue liner becomes the first Panthers’ defenseman to take home the award.

“The competition is pretty unreal for this award and there are a couple of names who were left out who definitely could have made a case for it,” Ekblad told the Sun-Sentinel recently. “It’s pretty cool to see who wins it.

“I’ve been able to share this with my family and everything so whether I win or lose it’s been a great experience for sure.”

Ekblad led all NHL rookie defenders in goals (12), power play goals (six), power play points (13) and shots (170). The 19-year-old also finished second in assists, plus-minus (+12), hits (109) and blocked shots (80), all while averaging 21:48 of ice time per game.

He eclipsed Ed Jovanovski’s 19-year franchise record for goals and points by a rookie defenseman.

Ekblad beat out Ottawa Senators’ rookie Mark Stone and Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames.

Here are the full voting results:

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd)

1. Aaron Ekblad, FLA 1147 (71-39-24-12-8)
2. Mark Stone, OTT 1078 (47-49-46-11-2)
3. Johnny Gaudreau, CGY 1026 (33-57-48-19-0)
4. Filip Forsberg, NSH 594 (6-9-37-91-13)
5. John Klingberg, DAL 127 (0-2-1-15-63)
6. Mike Hoffman, OTT 57 (0-1-1-5-30)
7. Kevin Hayes, NYR 15 (0-0-0-1-12)
8. Michael Hutchinson, WPG 13 (0-0-0-1-10)
9. Anders Lee, NYI 12 (0-0-0-1-9)
10. Jake Allen, STL 10 (0-0-0-1-7)
11. Bo Horvat, VAN 2 (0-0-0-0-2)
12. Adam Lowry, WPG 1 (0-0-0-0-1)

Once again, Blues goalies to compete for No. 1 gig

Nashville Predators v St. Louis Blues

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

In a recent interview with the Post-Dispatch, Blues GM Doug Armstrong said the club would continue with its annual rite of passage and let its two netminders — Jake Allen and Brian Elliott — battle for the starting job.


“We believe that we have two good goaltenders and training camp is going to decide who plays opening night,” Armstrong explained. “That’s how I see it from my perspective.”

St. Louis, and Elliott in particular, has been in this situation before — first with Jaroslav Halak, then with Allen. It’s often put the club in an unenviable position come playoff time, as head coach Ken Hitchcock has been forced to choose a starter after utilizing a timeshare throughout the regular season. It’s often been reminiscent of the old football adage:

If you have two starting quarterbacks, you really don’t have one.

Which brings us back to the present. In speaking with the Post-Dispatch, Armstrong suggested that Jake Allen — who started the club’s opening-round playoff loss to Minnesota — was no longer in a position to learn at the NHL level.

But then he added the club wasn’t ready to officially demote Elliott to No. 2 status.

On Allen: “He can’t apprentice anymore. He put in a good year last year. Now is his time. He’s done the work necessary to compete for that job.”

On Elliott: “I didn’t say he’s coming in as the backup. He could have a great summer and steal the job.”

So, how does this play out? Nobody would blame Elliott for being unimpressed with how things have transpired; he’s been the one constant in goal over the last four years and had the playoff starting gig taken away last year — despite Hitchcock anointing him the No. 1 in late May.

It’s worth noting that, at the end of last season, Elliott said he hadn’t requested a trade.