Mar 19, 2013, 4:55 PM EDT
If Ken Hitchcock’s history is any indication, St. Louis goalie Jake Allen might be on the verge of something big.
Allen, the 22-year-old rookie netminder, has taken his opportunity to move ahead of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott in the Blues’ pecking order with aplomb, going 8-1-0 with a .920 save percentage and 2.19 GAA.
The development has impressed Hitchcock, but hasn’t come as a huge surprise.
“He’s becoming a prime-time player,” Hitchcock told the Belleville News-Democrat on Tuesday. “We expected this when we drafted him and we expected this when he matured.”
The Blues took Allen in the second round (34th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the fourth goalie taken behind Chet Pickard, Thomas McCollum and Jakob Markstrom.
Hitchcock says teams can’t afford to miss on goalies selected that high (“you can’t make a mistake on those,” he said. “Those have to be prime-time players,”) and added that Allen’s situation in St. Louis reminded him of similar scenarios in Columbus and Dallas.
“This is a very similar story,” Hitchcock said. “Pascal [Leclaire] had a heck of a year the year before, a lot of shutouts, played great and then got hurt. We were thinking of playing Steve [Mason] 15 to 20 games and probably in the minors.
“Then when Passer got hurt, [Mason] ended up playing all the games.”
An injury to Dallas veteran goalie Ed Belfour gave [Marty] Turco his first chance.
“Eddie got hurt and Marty came in and played great and Marty’s career took off from there, so I’ve gone through this twice to be honest with you,” Hitchcock said. “This is very familiar ground.”
The Mason comparison is interesting because Allen could replicate some of the Columbus netminder’s success.
Mason was nominated for the Vezina and won the Calder in 2009. While Allen’s a long shot for a Vezina nod, he currently leads all rookie goalies in every significant statistical category.
Should he stay hot and carry St. Louis into the playoffs, there’s no telling what hardware will come his way.
Apr 16, 2014, 9:22 PM EDT
Did the Penguins deserve a power play or penalty shot?
Apr 16, 2014, 8:50 PM EDT
Get used to these stories of toughness.
Apr 16, 2014, 8:11 PM EDT
Updated with bonus goals for your enjoyment.
Apr 16, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT
Tomas Plekanec spoils Tampa Bay’s lead.
Apr 16, 2014, 7:24 PM EDT
In case there was any doubt.
Apr 16, 2014, 6:46 PM EDT
Unproven goalie vs. a gold-medal goalie in Game 1.
Apr 16, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
A battle between a scrappy underdog and a perplexing favorite.
Apr 16, 2014, 6:18 PM EDT
A little less grit against the Anaheim Ducks.
Apr 16, 2014, 5:16 PM EDT
Not Brandon Pirri.
Apr 16, 2014, 4:14 PM EDT
“He gives us the best chance to win, so he’ll be the one starting.”
Apr 16, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT
But both acknowledge they’ve heard the rumblings.
Apr 16, 2014, 3:05 PM EDT
22-26-7 with a .901 save percentage.
Apr 16, 2014, 2:17 PM EDT
Sacco, Forton, Numminen and Corsi are out.
Apr 16, 2014, 2:05 PM EDT
Top seeds don’t have it easy in the first round.
Apr 16, 2014, 1:44 PM EDT
Spent one season with the Oilers, now off to SKA St. Petersburg.
Apr 16, 2014, 12:53 PM EDT
He’ll dress for the series opener against Tampa Bay tonight.
Apr 16, 2014, 12:17 PM EDT
Steve Mason is “out.”
Apr 16, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
Short answer: Plenty.
Apr 16, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT
Pittsburgh won all five meetings between the teams during the regular season.
Apr 16, 2014, 11:25 AM EDT
Prove us wrong, all 16 teams. Prove…us…wrong.
- WATCH LIVE: Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (Game 1) 1
- WATCH LIVE: Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 1) 3
- Emery to start Game 1 versus Rangers 77
- Bulletin-board material: Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup 32
- PHT staff picks: Who’s going to win the Stanley Cup? 55
- 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs: PHT’s Round 1 picks 35
- Pressing Question: Can the Blackhawks avoid the Stanley Cup hangover? 10
- Florida wins ’14 NHL draft lottery, will pick first overall 41
- Philly mum on Mason’s availability for Game 1 vs. Rangers 26
- Pressing question: Can the Blues get back on track? 16
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension (91)
- Emery to start Game 1 versus Rangers (77)
- Lightning’s Malone arrested for DUI, cocaine possession (73)
- Update: Daniel Sedin in stable condition, hospitalized after scary hit (58)
- PHT staff picks: Who’s going to win the Stanley Cup? (55)