When the St. Louis Blues made the trade for Ryan Miller many fans believed the Blues became a favorite to win the Stanley Cup. Instead, the team was destined for an early first round exit to one of their most bitter rivals. The 2014-15 season will see the Blues turn to Jake Allen as the teams backbone with Brian Elliott giving him some security. Allen has shown his prowess in the AHL over the past few seasons and looked mostly solid during a brief stint with the Blues during the shortened lockout season of 2013, but is he ready for a starting role in the NHL?
If the St. Louis Blues want to win the Stanley Cup, they are going to have to big steps in a short period of time. Elliott has appeared solid for the Blues during the regular season, but his playoff record indicates the inability to lead a team to the ultimate goal. Allen may have what it takes, but it isn’t going to come without a learning curve or two. Fans may soon realize just how good Jaroslav Halak was for the Blues during his time in the gateway city. When Elliott stumbled, Halak could easily correct the ship and vice versa. Halak never had a chance to lead the note during the postseason so we will never really know what he may have been capable of.
While the Blues are almost certainly going to start the year with an Allen-Elliott tandem, it wouldn’t hurt to play armchair GM and take a look around the league at other possible options. With many up and coming NHL netminders on the trade block, the question could have been should the Blues look for a security blanket in net via trade or free agency.
Martin Brodeur could look very good in a St. Louis Blues uniform and provide a winning heritage that could be useful in key playoff matchups. The issue with Marty is that he could easily slip into a starting position and cast a shadow over Allen who has earned his role in net. The other issue with Marty is his age. His skills have been fading and many could argue that he should have hung up the skates a season or two ago.
James Reimer could be an interesting option. Brian Elliott could be moved to bring in a guy like Reimer to share the net with Allen. The big issue here is that Reimer is currently unhappy sharing the spotlight and would probably not want to get into another similar situation.
Perhaps a final option could be Jacob Markstrom. The Vancouver Canucks have been playing musical chairs in net for some time now and with the signing of Ryan Miller Markstrom has now asked to be moved. Perhaps a Markstrom-Allen tandem would look a lot like a young Elliott-Halak tandem for the Blues, but with a history of asking too much for their players, the Canucks would probably not be the best trading partners.
The truth is, the St. Louis Blues don’t need to panic about their situation in net. It is one that may prove to need some improvement during the course of the season, but GM Doug Armstrong is confident that he is putting a winning team on the ice, and fans should trust the process.
That’s all for now, Blues fans.
As always, LET’S GO BLUES!