2020 was an odd year for all of us, including the St. Louis Blues. It just turned into a big mess, overall.
The Blues were focused on defending their Stanley Cup and were doing a good job until the pandemic ruined it all. I mean, how St. Louis Blues can you get for a fantastic shot at going back-to-back being ruined by something completely out of their control?
Regardless, the re-start of the season and the playoffs going into the late summer pushed a lot of timetables back. This meant trades that would normally happen in July went down in the Fall.
That’s what happened with Jake Allen. Just looking at the date of September 2, you’d not be alone in thinking the Snake got dealt just days before the preseason would’ve began.
Instead, it was not quite that close to the season since everything was pushed back. However, we are far enough out now that we can look at the deal and get a slightly better idea of how it has panned out.
Clearly, the Blues knew they couldn’t keep dragging Allen along for the ride. They had committed serious money and contract length to Jordan Binnington.
If Allen was on the books for he 2020-21 season, the Blues would have been spending over $10 million on goaltending alone. Interestingly, Montreal is doing more than that now, but that’s another matter.
For St. Louis, they knew it was not financially responsible. They also knew it was better to let Allen get a fresh start.
So, on September 2, 2020, the Blues dealt the Snake to Montreal in exchange for a third-round pick and a seventh-round pick in 2020. That worked for Montreal because neither of those picks were their original property and it worked for the Blues because they got to add to their organizational depth.
With the third-round pick, the Blues selected Dylan Peterson, 86th overall. In the seventh round, Chase Bradley was taken with the 203rd overall pick, though we’ll get into that in a moment.
Peterson has the physical attributes to be a solid professional. At 20 years old, he’s 6’4.
He could stand to put a little weight on, but he’s already got the mentality to get to the front of the net and that’s hard to teach. However, even his scouting report says he’s still coming to grips with his size.
Peterson is currently playing for Boston University. In his first two collegiate seasons, he’s tallied 13 goals and 22 points in 45 games.
Those aren’t eye-popping numbers, but not indicative of a poor player. He will simply take awhile longer to develop and likely need a couple years in the AHL once he turns pro.
Then things got complicated, at least in terms of tracking it all. Chad Bradley was taken with the draft pick in 2020, but the Blues did not make that selection.
They traded the 2020 seventh rounder for the same round in 2021. The Detroit Red Wings selected Bradley, ironically who was born in St. Louis.
When the pick came up in 2021, the Blues selected Ivan Vorobyov. He has yet to play at the highest division yet.
The Russian has played in their version of the AHL and some other lower leagues, but has not yet played a KHL game. Whether he makes his way to North America at some point is yet to be seen.
He’s only 20, so there is time, but it’s always hard to gauge production in some of these European leagues. Still, he did score 21 goals and 50 points in the MHL, as an 18-year old.
Overall, for the time being, it feels like the Canadiens still got the better of this deal, but it was also a trade that had to happen. Allen needed to be playing elsewhere and the Blues just couldn’t spend that much on goaltending.
For those that will point to Allen’s numbers in Montreal, that’s not fair either. The Canadiens have been one of the league’s worst teams since Allen arrived, giving him no support offensively or defensively. They made the Stanley Cup Final in 2021 solely due to a hot streak and on the back of Carey Price.
Frankly, Allen probably won more games than the Canadiens deserved in 2021-22. He’s done well as a backup and pseudo-starter with Price injured.
As far as the Blues return, that’s extremely up in the air. College draft picks are a crap shoot at best.
Peterson has the size, but that’s not all that matters. Logan Brown has the size too and he’s still trying to live up to his own potential and has actually been in the league.
This is not to downplay Peterson and any potential future. The realistic viewpoint is to not expect him to make the jump, or at least not within the next few years.
Vorobyov is in the same boat. Like Canadians, Russians are often born into hockey, almost without an option. It tends to breed talent.
Still, the uncertainty of when he might even come over to North America always makes a Russian prospect undependable. Don’t expect to see Vorobyov any time soon either.
Maybe in four or five years we will sing a different tune. Perhaps those two will bud into good NHL players and we’ll not even remember Jake Allen.
Given the current state of the Blues goaltending situation, I’d rather have Allen than the picks.