St. Louis Blues: Jake Allen Still The Blues’ Best Option Going Forward


The St. Louis Blues have had plenty of issues this season and they may have some more pop up down the stretch. But Jake Allen won’t be one of them.

I think Jake Allen is the most polarizing player on the St. Louis Blues, especially among us fans.

And it’s been that way for a while now. It began while he shared time minding the Blues’ net with Brian Elliott. The goalie affectionately known as “Moose” had, and still has, an insane fan club within the entirety of Blues fans (not that it wasn’t mostly deserved).

During the time he and Allen split duties, the argument could be made that Elliott was a more consistent producer, sure. But it wasn’t that dramatic of a difference. It did, however, always shine the spotlight a little brighter on Allen when he was between the pipes. I think we, as fans, magnified his mistakes more for some reason. And it drew him what I would call an unfair amount of criticism.

And then last summer, when GM Doug Armstrong chose to stick with Allen and dealt Elliott to Calgary, Allen became even more polarizing. When the news broke, I remember many Blues fans on social media practically villainizing Allen for what was an organizational decision. That made it a little difficult for him to gain full support heading into last October. I think some believed (maybe hoped) he would prove that Armstrong made a mistake.

Now, I won’t make excuses for his play this season. Jake Allen has definitely been under the microscope more than ever and he was very inconsistent. That inconsistency has been a factor in the Blues barely being a playoff contender. He deserved the criticism and a little less faith in him from us fans. I’ll accept that.

But can we chill out just a little bit? Stop the Ben Bishop or Marc-Andre Fleury trade speculation or the cries for needing a legitimate starting goalie. The Blues have one.

Jake Allen’s issue wasn’t/isn’t skill. The 26 year-old goaltender definitely had the “yips.”

It showed in his performances in the two-month stretch of miserable hockey the Blues gave us. Any slight defensive breakdown had Allen scrambling, trying to do too much. It affected his positioning, his stick work, and his overall calmness. That kind of inner-chaos is certainly detrimental to on-ice production.

But what we’ve seen the last two weeks, and specifically in Allen’s last seven games, is his real skill and potential.

Prior to Saturday’s game in Montreal, I heard Allen tell Darren Pang on television that Martin Broduer as his goalie coach has made all the difference in getting his confidence back. A fresh perspective and new coaching has pinpointed the flaws in Allen’s game and how he can correct them.

More from Bleedin' Blue

So he’s confident again. And it’s really showing.

In those last seven appearances (including two even prior to the Broduer assignment), Allen has saved 164 of 175 shots against. That’s good for a .937 save percentage and it has helped the Blues to four big wins.

But, let’s set the numbers aside.

What can we look forward to from The Snake down the stretch as the Blues battle for a playoff spot?

I’m pretty confident these last seven appearances are our preview.

The difference has been night and day in his positioning. He has never been more square to the puck and his rebound control has been noticeably better. Allen is tighter in his movement. He isn’t being passive on rushes either; he has been aggressive at the top of the crease, challenging shooters. He’s also making smarter decisions when playing the puck.

(And I will add, a much stronger defensive zone game from his teammates has helped his confidence and performance as well.)

What’s more exciting to me is that I think we can expect this from Jake long-term. The Blues obviously agree, committing to him through 2021.

Now, I’m not saying Jake Allen is an elite goaltender. He’ll probably never be one of the elite. That should have never been expected in the first place.

But, contrary to what many Blues fans seem to believe, Jake Allen is a very legitimate NHL starting goalie. He has the skill to prove it and hopefully going forward, the mental fortitude as well. I think he can be a major part of something special in St. Louis.

So no, the Blues do not need to trade him, or trade for a more expensive, older goaltender like Bishop or Fleury. It won’t help. The money doesn’t work and the prospects or draft picks the Blues would need to give up are far more valuable to them in this farm system right now anyway.

I’m telling you that Jake Allen is the best option for the Blues going forward. Hands down.

Don’t believe me? That’s okay.

He’ll prove it to you the rest of the season.

Just go ahead and watch. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Related Story: Will Logjam in AHL Force Goaltending Trade?