(Photo Credit: Associated Press)
Jake Allen has been given an opportunity, an opportunity to be the #1 goaltender in St. Louis again.
I know this worries me as much as the next fan, but on the other hand, I will say Jake is the person who should be in net for this team considering he has a .913 Save%, which is not too shabby. However, my biggest concern is this. He has had trouble being consistent. He has certain stretches during the season where it is like watching Jason Statham take down his enemy. Then January and February happen. I do not know what the issue is, but his game hits rock bottom. Soft goals bounce past him and he looks as though he has no confidence in himself in net. He then turns it all around, if and when we make the playoffs, and stands on his head like a break dancer.
Now before everyone tries to chase me down because they think I am only writing this to hate on Jake Allen, I think that he is going to have a wonderful season this year. He officially has a legitimate backup goaltender in Chad Johnson. This means that he no longer has to feel like his job is slowly but surely getting taken away from him. This is perfect because he no longer has to feel the pressure of someone standing over his shoulder. He does not have to be paranoid that he will lose his job everytime he has a bad game. He definitely felt that pressure when his backup was Carter Hutton, and Brian Elliott for that matter. I think, mentally, this is the best thing that the front office could have done for Jake Allen, especially since Carter Hutton wanted a deal as a starter.
Chad Johnson is coming off of a season behind what you would call a mediocre Buffalo Sabres team with a .891 Save%. He had 10 Wins and 16 Losses. Now, this is when you can wipe the cringe from your face. The reason for this is because he now is playing behind a solid defense and an incredible offense. Even though he had a lackluster season last year, he still has a career .910 Save%, which means the potential is there and he could do exactly what we need him to do when Jake has a rough game.
It seems that we are all sitting around twiddling our thumbs waiting to see how this plays out for the season. Will Chad be able to help make Jake Allen the incredible goaltender that we have been desperately waiting for the past two seasons? I think the one thing that we do have to worry about is… what if Chad Johnson stands on his head? He has been known for being a very solid goaltender behind a good team. I hope that he recognizes his role as back up and does not try to steal the spotlight from Jake Allen.
Does Allen Have What It Takes to Win a Cup?
Yes, I truly believe he does have what it takes to make it to the Stanley Cup Final. I feel that the honest to god issue is getting there. If you look back at his history, when Jake Allen and Brian Elliott shared the crease, they both made an incredible run even though Elliott carried them a majority of the way. Though this was due to Allen dealing with some personal struggles and injuries throughout the season. They balanced each other out the entire season. One would get injured and the other would step up and take the reigns.
However, I do feel that this is Jake Allen’s last season to prove himself. This has to be the time that Jake Allen shows that he can be consistently great. If he goes down the road of his January and February slump, I think Army will have to pull the trigger on a trade for a new starting goaltender. I do not want this to happen, but I worry about what is coming next for Jake Allen if he cannot pull it together during the first couple months of the year.
What Can We Look Forward To?
Considering Jake Allen’s track record, we can probably look forward to a similar sequence of events as seen in prior seasons; stellar performances leading up to January, falling off the wagon a bit midseason, but then as we make the playoffs he will stand on his head, taking us on a deep run into the playoffs. It may seem that I live in dreamland. The fact of the matter is Jake Allen has always stood on his head in the playoffs until plagued with an injury. I feel like Jake Allen has it in him to become that standout goaltender, he just needs to believe in himself no matter the circumstance. A lot of people are worried about his return to another season, but we have to give him another shot. The additions of Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak, David Perron, and potentially Patrick Maroon will bolster up the roster to help keep the puck from the front of the net. I think Jake Allen will rise to the occasion this upcoming season. Let us go into this season with high hopes. We have a team with great potential and we should all look forward to what they will bring us this next season because I truly believe the puck stops at Jake Allen.