Just one year removed from a season that saw goaltender Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott share the William M. Jennings Trophy as the league’s top duo between the pipes, the St. Louis Blues headed into the lockout-shortened 2013 season with high hopes and even greater expectations. Halak battled injuries early on in the season, and Elliott struggled to return to form, which opened the door for Jake Allen. The young netminder was more than impressive during his rookie season (and a big reason why the Blues still reached the postseason), and the Blues made an excellent decision this week by signing him to a two-year contract.
Allen was a second round pick of the Blues in 2008, and had appeared in only one NHL game before last season. He was recalled from the Peoria Rivermen of the AHL when Halak got injured, and went on to post a 9-4-0 record with the Blues. Allen’s potential was a big part of why the Blues were willing to deal Ben Bishop during the previous season, and he has now shown he is the goalie of the future for the team. With Halak and Elliott still under contract, there remains a good chance that Allen will be back with the Rivermen to start the season. That may be a tough pill to swallow at first, but Allen will have a good chance at a call-up at the first sign of injury or poor play.
The Blues may have gotten one of the steals of the summer with this contract too – the first year is a two-way that pays Allen $750,000 in the NHL and $125,000 in the AHL. The second year is a one-way, but still a bargain at only $850,000. Considering that Allen’s play has made trading Elliott or Halak an option for the Blues down the road, this deal had to get done before training camp and the price couldn’t have been much better.