According to some St. Louis Blues fans, Jake Allen can do no wrong. He will open the door for older women, fill up your gas tank during a windy snow storm, and even vote for your candidate in today’s election. He’s wrongful action-proof.
I don’t get it. Here’s a guy with a career save percentage of 91.1%. A 28-year-old who played well when he was paired with another goaltender, taking part in a timeshare program for the Blues in net. Allen’s goals-against-average has gone up every year since the 2014-15 season. After finishing the 2016-17 season in high-flying fashion and carrying the Blues through a playoff series against Minnesota, Allen has crash-landed as a starter.
In 59 games last season, Allen put up a 2.75 GAA with a save percentage of 90.9%. After racking up ten shutouts the past two seasons, Allen shut ONE team out during the 2017-18 season. The apologists called out teammates, a lack of goals, and global warming as reasons for Allen not feuding off Carter Hutton for starting duty. It was always something.
When it came to goaltender ranking, Allen finished 30th in G.A.A. and 45th in save percentage. Does that sound like someone to depend on? If he could have stolen one more damn game last season, in other words a shutout, the Blues make the playoffs.
One had to think Doug Armstrong did his best to shop Allen at the trade deadline and in the offseason, but who wants that with a contract left to play out? None.
Going into the current season, all eyes were on Allen. The Blues loaded up on forwards and were ready to plunge back into the playoff picture...if only Allen could keep his head out of his ass long enough to string together some good starts.
For the record, the Blues’ defensive abilities have rivaled that of a high school club with a roster stuffed with converted soccer players, which would leave a goaltender handicapped in certain situations. Jay Bouwmeester has been atrocious, and Alex Pietrangelo is not helping by making every single game a giveaway day. Breakdowns, shots allowed, and a lot of goals.
I am talking about a lot of goals. Allen has allowed three or more goals in ten of his eleven starts. In six of them, he has allowed four or more goals. One would think he was invisible back there or something. It turns out that he isn’t good enough to make up for a paltry defense and clueless coaching staff.
There have been goals where Allen couldn’t stand a chance even with a stunt double next to him, but there are countless others one would classify as “soft”. Goals that happen as a result of bad positioning, and some that just get by him. There’s no doubt a mental aspect to this quandary as well. With a defense like that in front of you, confidence can start to decrease rather quick. Attitude can change.
According to Allen, it’s all about the team’s attitude. In speaking to KMOX, Allen attributed the troubles during Saturday’s embarrassing 5-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets to the way the Blues carried themselves. “It was just our attitudes,” Allen said. Attention folks, it’s not skill level or efficiency, but an attitude adjustment issue. Much like his head coach, Allen is puffing white hot editorial smoke at the moment, and I’m not having it.
He’s out of answers, and so is his coach. I can lay a healthy bet on who loses their job first. Here’s a hint: he’s bald and looks like a young Professor X without glasses.
For the crowd who wants to tell me Allen has made a lot of saves, I got an answer for you: DUH! When you face the amount of shots that Allen is facing, one would think he will save a fair portion. Hopefully around 90%. At the moment, Allen’s save percentage is 87.9%. That’s just not good enough. If you are going to throw save stats at me, don’t duck the ones that count.
Here’s a few easy stats for you. At the moment, Allen ranks 60th in goals against average and 58th in save percentage. That’s terrible and worse than last season. How much more can you blame on the defense and surrounding factors? Keep trying,
Before you tell me other goaltenders couldn’t do any better, stop yourself. Plenty around the league could. Goaltenders from Blues past like Curtis Joseph and Grant Fuhr should could. Do you remember those defenses back in the day? Yikes. They were worse than St. Louis traffic during a thunderstorm.
I’m not turning over a new leaf or adjusting the goal posts on this stance. Last year, I told you that Allen was nothing more than a timeshare goaltender. A talent that when stretched out to starter specifications simply wasn’t good enough to sit among the elite..or even close. Nothing has changed. If the defense improves, Allen will only do so to a certain degree. He will continue to disappoint.
Unless the Blues turn to Chad Johnson or Ville Husso, the job is his, so don’t take this as a campaign to see a change in net. Heck, knowing I posted this column, Jake will play out of his mind tonight against Carolina. It won’t change anything.
I am simply tired of the hardcore apologists immediately jumping to his defense after every goal allowed. Right after a goal passes Allen in net and before a review of the replay, the apologist will blame the defense. “He had no chance.” “This defense is betraying him!” “Poor Allen!”
In some cases, it’s true. In a fair amount of others, it’s not. It was indeed Allen’s lack of POSITIONING (goal posts!) or some other slip-up that led to the goal. Watch the games and put down the blanket and chocolate ice cream.
The Blues have problems. Coaching is at the top of the list. Players missing in action like Jaden Schwartz. A bad defense. A lack of answers on the farm or in the suite. And Jake Allen. He’s a solid portion of the problem. Convince yourself otherwise all you want.
Guess what? You’re wrong.
For the last four seasons, Allen’s goals against average and save percentage have tilted in the wrong direction. Explain that.
Thanks for reading and start drinking bourbon soon,