Even though he made the NHL’s All-Rookie team last year, Jake Allen knows his immediate future is probably in the AHL.
“Obviously we all know the situation,” Allen told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I’m not a dumb guy.”
Allen, 23, wasn’t slated to play for the Blues last season. The goal was supposed to belong to Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott but, thanks to a combination of injuries and ineffective play, Allen was given a chance to start and he took advantage, posting a 9-4-0 record with a 2.46 GAA and .905 save percentage.
In July, Allen was rewarded with a two-year, $1.6 million extension.
The Blues are expected to go back to the Halak-Elliott timeshare this season, however, meaning Allen will likely open the year with AHL Chicago.
“I can control what I can control,” Allen said. “I can control how well I play and how bad I play, to be honest, and right now I’m just trying to play as well as I can. The decision is up to the management, but I want to prove that I’m here to stay here.
“But you’ve got to look at it in realistic terms too.”
The interesting subplot is if — or when — St. Louis calls on Allen during the season.
The club has high hopes for a Stanley Cup run and won’t allow the effort to be derailed by poor goaltending. Should either Halak or Elliott falter, there’s a good chance the club would make a change.
Last year, the Blues responded to a “critical” point of the season by giving Allen the starting gig, and he responded by winning five straight games.