Another goaltender controversy could be brewing as Jake Allen has been activated from injured reserve after more than a month-long absence.
Allen, 25, has been out since Jan. 8 after sustaining a lower-body injury in a game against Anaheim. The netminder has been skating for more than a week, recently getting in a larger chunk of work. Despite an apparent readiness shown by Allen, the team opted to give the goalie more time to recover, due in large part to Brian Elliott’s hot streak.
Elliott, who started in all 17 games during Allen’s absence, led the club to a 12-3-2 record, while posting a .943 save percentage in February. Elliott’s .931 save percentage currently leads the NHL and the Blues are just two points out of first place in the Central Division. Elliott picked up another win Saturday in Arizona and has now backstopped the club to a five-game win streak.
But with Allen back, the waters are murkier. Prior to sustaining the lower-body injury, Allen was the Blues’ No. 1 goaltender, posting 18 wins, a .924 save percentage and 2.17 goals against average in 33 games. He will, however have a tough time stealing the job back from Elliott.
Head coach Ken Hitchcock has refrained recently from commenting on the situation but he will have some tough questions to address in the coming weeks.
“I’m not talking about the goalies,” Hitchcock said in a postgame interview recently when it was known that Allen was close to a return.
As a result of Allen's activation, goaltender Jordan Binnington has been assigned to the Chicago Wolves. Defenseman Peter Harrold is also en route to Chicago.
The Blues’ next practice will be a pregame skate on Monday. Hitchcock is likely to comment on his plans moving forward.