It seems like eons ago when the we were watching Jaroslav Halak between the pipes. Hell, it’s been a while since we heard the roar of the crowd yelling “MOOOOOOOSE!” after Brian Elliot would stand on his head, making an incredible save. Believe it or not, just four seasons ago, those were the usual suspects in net for the Notes.
Here we are, getting ready to dive deep into the offseason program preceding the 2018-2019 season, and our goalie situation seems as up in the air as it always has been. Jake Allen, a guy who has time and time again proven that when he’s good, he’s among the best…but when he is off his game…we certainly notice. This level of inconsistent play has only exacerbated the issue of having a team that looks wildly different in November than it does come April.
Now I know that some who read this may make the argument that the offense didn’t perform, the defense played loose, and the power play….that wretched power play. Hockey is, above all else, a team sport. This means that in most situations, the blame lies on multiple people for multiple reasons, but I think we’ve seen enough in the past years to know that Jake has a severe case of the mid-season yips.
Carter Hutton, on the other hand? Rock solid. He started out strong, and he just kept getting stronger. A guy who has been a perennial backup for his entire career, but has always stepped up when called upon. In the three seasons that he’s been in net for 30+ games, he’s never had a save percentage of less than .910, and to be honest, he only seems to get better as the season progresses and he spends more time in the crease. If you weren’t aware, he had the best goals against average of all qualified goaltenders in the league this year at 2.09. Second place? Marc-Andre Fleury at 2.24. For comparison, Allen finished the season at 2.75.
Hutton does come with some questions as well though. As a guy who has been a great backup goaltender, some may wonder if he can handle the load of being the starting net minder all season long. This is where Jake presents some positives. We know what we’re going to get with Jake the Snake. While he seems to always hit that mid-season slump, he’s still a lot better than many of the other options that teams across the league have had for years, and has shown on multiple occasions that he’s capable of putting the team on his back sometimes. Allen has also been rather consistent on staying healthy. Sure he’s had a few minor issues along the way, but nothing on the levels of other premiere players such as Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick.
Is it likely that we see Hutton resign in St. Louis while Allen gets traded for the value another team sees in him? Probably not, but it’s the offseason, a time for us to consider all of the possibilities, and with Hutton fixed to be the belle of the ball as far as goaltenders in free agency goes, I can’t help but consider the idea of Hutton going elsewhere and winning, which seems to be a recurring theme for the St. Louis Blues.
Either way, we’ve got a fun few weeks ahead of us, and whether it’s Allen, Hutton, or some other unexpected net minder come October, I think we can all agree that we’ll just be happy to have hockey back.
Thanks for reading,
Let’s Go Blues