Blues' Allen wants to make impression

ST. LOUIS — It wasn’t easy for Jake Allen to return to the American Hockey League last season after earning NHL All-Rookie first-team honors the year before with the Blues. But the Blues goalie is thankful now for the experience he gained.

“It was a little bit tough to go back down there,” Allen said Saturday following his second day of training camp, “but at the same time I went down there with the attitude that I was going to play as many games as I could and succeed and prove to the organization that I was still ready to play in the NHL and looking back on my season at the end of the year last year, I felt I did that.”

Allen, 24, felt like he improved last season with the Chicago Wolves.

He went 33-16-3 with a 2.03 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in 52 regular season games. He was 3-6 with a 3.29 GAA and .879 save percentage in nine playoff games.

Allen was named the recipient of the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award as the AHL’s most outstanding goaltender, which is voted on by AHL coaches, players and media.

His time with the Wolves last season helped him get back to St. Louis for the 2014 season, where he will be one of the Blues’ two goalies along with veteran Brian Elliott.

“Now, I feel like I couldn’t come to the NHL at a better time,” Allen said. “If I didn’t have those, especially last year and the years before that in the American League, I definitely don’t think I’d be ready to where I am today.”

Allen, who was selected to the NHL All-Rookie First Team for the 2012-13 season, was called up to St. Louis for a few days last season but did not appear in a regular season game as Jaroslav Halak, Elliott and Ryan Miller handled all of the duties in net for the duration of the season.

Now that Allen is back with the Blues, he’s determined to show that he can succeed at this level. That’s his mindset going into training camp and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to prove it, starting with Sunday’s preseason game in Columbus.

“I think this year I almost have something more to prove,” he said. “I know that I am going to be here, which is a huge confidence boost, but at the same time, I’m trying to make an impression. I want as much ice time as I can get. It’s going to be hard to achieve that right off the bat but I want to prove to them that I am ready and when I get called upon that I want to be able to be counted on. I want to make that impression just like everyone else does. Just go in with that mindset that once I get in the net it’s my net.”

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com


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