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The Blues drafted, developed, and invested in Jake Allen. It’s time for them to start acting like it.
This season, there was a lot of talk about “Jake Fallen” as “Starter Hutton” was carrying the team on his shoulders with incredible numbers. I want to start by saying that I’m extremely proud of what Carter Hutton has done in goal this season. He truly has made such an impact. It’s safe to say the Blues are in the race for a wildcard spot because of him, but this particular post is about Jake Allen.
I recently read an article, “It Is Time For A St. Louis Goalie Change” by Jesse Hill of STL Hat Trick. In this piece, He discusses his thoughts on Jake Allen. He brings to light that while Allen’s career statistics have been impressive, this season has been ugly. Another point made was that there is an unsettling inconsistency coming from #34 and that Blues fans aren’t always sure what they’re going to get.
I Can Relate
I appreciated this read because I’ve found myself feeling the same way on many occasions. However, opinions are like elbows. Everyone has a couple of them and it’s okay to disagree. I’m always changing mine and I’m always in the moment just like most of you. At this moment, I’m feeling supportive of Jake Allen. Hopefully, it doesn’t come back to bite me. I won’t be providing any stats for you in this one. This is just a rant about what I think of the goalie situation in St. Louis.
Jesse closed with, “I personally do not believe Jake Allen will be the goalie who helps the St. Louis Blues hoist the Stanley Cup. I also don’t have the answer but Albert Einstein said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. I trust that guy and I hope the St. Louis Blues do the same.”
I absolutely loved the way he dropped the Einstein quote there at the end. However, there’s a part of me that thinks Jake Allen can reach another level of play. As crazy as this may sound, I’m suggesting that the Blues could benefit from not acquiring potential 1b goaltenders. Everyone seems to be aware of what’s going on with Jake. It’s all in his head. As Darren Pang would say, “Why wouldn’t it be?”
This Got Me Thinking
Maybe Jesse’s right. Perhaps a Stanley Cup isn’t something that Blues fans should consider a possibility while Jake Allen is the #1 goaltender for the St. Louis Blues. Don’t get me wrong. Jake’s athleticism and talents are unquestionable, but so has been his inability to hold the fort down. It’s obvious that the job of a #1 goaltender in the NHL is a difficult one. Especially obvious if you’re a Blues fan.
Now, while I agree that it’s been frustrating to watch Jake try to escape his own mind for half of the season, I also feel that Allen deals with a lot of unwanted pressure. I was listening to the Blue Line Podcast and Brian Light suggested that Jake has to be getting tired of the St. Louis Blues organization constantly setting him up with goalie competition.
I completely agree that this is the problem for Allen. It’s not a lack of skill. It’s a lack of confidence. If you’re going to name someone your #1 goaltender, you need to let him own that position. Truthfully, with the exception of the 2016-17 season, Jake Allen has been sharing the net a lot since he came into the NHL. Now, #34 wants to be the guy. He’s worked hard and he’s been patient.
You May Be Over It
I know there are many of you that feel that Jake Allen is a lost cause. There’s a lot of reason to believe that he can’t and won’t get the job done. I’m not denying that. I just feel that he hasn’t received much help this season and it’s showing in his stats and record. I’m one with mixed emotions on the goalie subject. Like everybody else, sometimes I get very fed up with Jake. I’ve also been very high on his performances. It’s a roller coaster. You all know that.
It’s hard to be a Blues fan. We’ve been waiting to hoist that Stanley Cup for too long. It sometimes takes a toll on my abilities to analyze the game because, after all, we’ve got to be the most emotional fans in hockey. We want the Blues to be the best and we want it now. We’ve seen them get so close, but there’s always something holding the Blues back. I just don’t think it’s solely Jake Allen though.
Ville Husso & Carter Hutton
Believe me, Jake has heard the news. Ville Husso is a young netminder of the future. Allen is already anticipating more competition and pressure. Meanwhile, Carter Hutton isn’t even gone yet. And Heck, we don’t even know what will happen with Hutts. His value has certainly increased with the stellar season he’s put on display. I personally think it would be smart to let Hutton walk.
I’d spend that money elsewhere. There are many holes to be filled on this team in the offseason. In my opinion, it’s time to stand behind Allen. Bring Husso up and give him 22 games, but live and die with the goaltender that you’ve been saying is “The Guy” for years. Trying to bail him out every time he has a bad game is only beating around the bush. The team often has responded well after a loss (with the exception of the 7 game skid), but Jake isn’t there to get the W.
Allen Needs To Be Supported
Every time this guy plays a shaky game, it’s onto the next goaltender. Give the guy a chance to respond to his mistakes. Make the club play accountable in front of him. Don’t say, “Well the guys aren’t playing well in front of Jake. Let’s try Carter.” That’s nonsense. The coaching staff needs to stand by the organization’s decision to develop this goaltender. Let him fail or let him succeed.
It seems that the Blues are afraid to let Jake Allen do just that. It’s obvious in this business when you’re trying to protect a players trade value. Whether you’re looking to trade a player or not, you want them to remain as valuable as possible. With Jake Allen, it seems like the Blues are constantly using him according to his level of play. It’s business-strategic. Jake isn’t stupid.
If a Stanley Cup isn’t in his books, so be it. I don’t agree with trading Jake Allen. Not yet anyway. Maybe I’ll be on board with trading him after he’s seen an actual season of #1 goaltending and there are no reasons to believe in him anymore. Who knows? Maybe he will thrive when valued and treated as such. Honestly, I think it’s pretty annoying when I’ve got someone looking over my shoulder. I can only imagine the way he feels.
The Definition Of Insanity
So, while I agree that it is time for a goalie change, I just want to see that change at the #2 position. Many will think I’m crazy for suggesting to let Carter Hutton walk, but I think it’s the right move. Husso can come up and be a great back up. I’m tired of this 1a-1b tandem nonsense. Are you ready to get a good look at Jake Allen for more than 60 games for once in his career? We should be willing to let him have that before we call him a failure.
I’m also in agreeance with Einstein. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insane. That’s why I’m calling for a change. I would like to see #34 on full display for better or worse. I think Jake Allen needs to feel at home in order to succeed. My opinion is that St. Louis fails to make him feel secure in this organization.
I think the Blues have other priorities like scoring on the power play. There are moves to be made in the offseason and those moves shouldn’t include signing Carter Hutton or trading Jake Allen. The Blues front office should be going to work. And say this club does improve in front of Allen… I believe that if Jake is assured he’s starting 60+ games, he’ll have a career season. Put the rookie on the bench. Give him half of the back-to-backs and let him play the least threatening clubs.
Give Jake The Snake the rest and don’t change the game plan. My argument is this: Let him have one more legitimate shot at #1 before you call him a failure, Blues fans. Truthfully, the problem with Allen isn’t his own, but it’s the lack of trust this organization has in him. I think that’s what needs to change. Yes, I know this isn’t the popular opinion.