This off-season was going to be full of difficult decisions for Doug Armstrong. If he is serious about signing captain Alex Pietrangelo to a new contract, he absolutely needs to clear cap space. Armstrong took a huge step toward that today, dealing Jake Allen to the Montreal Canadiens.
Allen netted the Blues two draft picks in this year’s draft - Washington’s third round pick and Chicago’s 7th round pick. The deal clears $4,350,000 from the Blues’ payroll. Some of that will more than likely be taken up by Ville Husso making the shift to the NHL if Armstrong does not decide to trade for or sign a free agent veteran goaltender this fall. Husso’s new contract is a one-way deal valued at $1.5 million, so more than likely it’s his time to shine.
Allen leaves St. Louis with a solid history. Allen ranks third all-time on the Blues in wins (136) and games played (265). He is also third in shutouts with 19. His stats rebounded this season as Jordan Binnington’s backup, which was a role that shifted into a 1A/1B goaltender tandem, and if signing Pietrangelo was not a possibility for Armstrong, the team could’ve benefited from Allen’s continued participation in that tandem.
The trade doesn’t do much for Allen’s playing time - in fact, if Carey Price remains healthy, he more than likely will see less time in Montreal than he did in St. Louis last season. It also doesn’t do much for the Habs’ pocketbooks - the team has nearly $15 million invested in goaltending for next season now.
This is a clear sign that Armstrong is serious about re-signing Alex Pietrangelo and by working him into the existing cap structure. The question now is this: who else goes to make room for the captain?