Mar 19, 2013, 4:55 PM EST
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.
Dec 25, 2014, 9:00 AM EST
Was quite the playoff run for L.A. and its 27-year-old defenseman.
Dec 25, 2014, 8:00 AM EST
Check back often. It’s an all-day thing.
Dec 24, 2014, 8:59 PM EST
Only Glen Sather is ahead of him.
Dec 24, 2014, 7:51 PM EST
“It’s like a little miracle down here.”
Dec 24, 2014, 6:40 PM EST
The goal was initially credited to Martin St. Louis.
Dec 24, 2014, 5:54 PM EST
Will he eventually earn a full-time NHL roster spot?
Dec 24, 2014, 4:31 PM EST
His stint with the Lightning was brief, but memorable.
Dec 24, 2014, 3:28 PM EST
Not surprisingly, the Kings feature prominently.
Dec 24, 2014, 2:22 PM EST
League rules that Jackman wasn’t expecting to be punched, “nor should he be.”
Dec 24, 2014, 1:18 PM EST
Dec 24, 2014, 12:23 PM EST
Owner Eugene Melnyk has called the potential move a “game-changer.”
Dec 24, 2014, 11:18 AM EST
“We’re seeing some of his best hockey,” Claude Julien said.
Dec 24, 2014, 11:18 AM EST
And they’re planning to start taking deposits for the 2016-17 season.
Dec 24, 2014, 11:05 AM EST
Minnesota’s lost four straight, and six of its last eight.
Dec 24, 2014, 10:24 AM EST
Semyon Varlamov’s shutout probably makes that a more comfortable idea.
Dec 24, 2014, 9:43 AM EST
A controversial check left Buffalo winger Brian Gionta injured.
Dec 24, 2014, 8:33 AM EST
Wednesday’s collection of links.
Dec 24, 2014, 1:20 AM EST
Winnipeg has won three of four.
Dec 24, 2014, 12:30 AM EST
The Devils enter the Christmas holidays on a two-game skid.
Dec 23, 2014, 11:45 PM EST
Made 26 saves for the shutout.
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