Sunday, March 17, 2013

Jake Allen The New #1 In St.Louis

One of the quickly emerging stories in the NHL that people are going to start talking about a lot more in the near future is how St. Louis Blues rookie goalie Jake Allen has overtaken both Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot for the starting job. Why is this significant? The Blues have ended a free fall and are suddenly winning hockey games again, going with the kid over last year's winners of the Jennings Trophy for lowest team goals against average. Elliot and Halak were by far the best goaltending duo in the NHL last season. Both benefited from the Hitchcock system to put up terrific numbers, though when Halak was injured in last year's playoffs, Elliot collapsed under  the pressure. If anything that could have been considered a significant warning sign; harder to predict though was the downfall of Halak.

Rest assured, we haven't heard the last from Elliot and Halak. Both will be free agents in 2014 and at least one of them will become a starter again eventually. It is possible that Brian Elliot's outstanding 2011/12 season was a complete fluke that could be credited entirely to coach Hitch, but these are both guys who can thrive in the right environment. Is Jake Allen a fluke? For the time being, he looks like a bigger story than what people have been talking about. Through 10 games, he is 8-1 with a 2.18 GAA and a .920 SPCT. Halak has been slightly worse, where Elliot has been a lot worse. If there is anyone else out there who recommended to a friend that they draft Halak and Elliot for their fantasy team this season, let me apologize on our behalf. I'm sorry. At the moment all 3 goalies are healthy, and Allen has started 5 of the last 6 games. St. Louis has won each of the last 5 games Allen has started in. If there were an award for best rookie goalie, Allen would be at or near the top of that list (at age 30, is Viktor Fasth even eligible for rookie of the year?)

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