Fredericton rookie turning heads in the hockey world
Jake Allen was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the second round of the NHL draft in 2008 and has spent the last two seasons with their American Hockey League in Peoria.
Published Monday, February 18, 2013 7:06PM AST
A 22-year-old Fredericton rookie goaltender is turning heads in the hockey world.
For Jake Allen, his time to start for the National Hockey League team that drafted him finally arrived because of injuries.
Allen has played three games for the St. Louis Blues and recorded three wins.
He was drafted by the Blues in the second round of the NHL draft in 2008 and has spent the last two seasons with their American Hockey League in Peoria.
Then, last week, he was thrust into the starter’s role.
"I feel comfortable,” says Allen. “After the first game in Detroit, I was a little nervous, but I've had a solid couple of weeks of practices here and I was feeling comfortable about my game. I was playing well in Peoria before, so it's great to just get an opportunity and I'm trying to make the most of it."
The Blues head coach, Ken Hitchcock, says the rookie is off to a good start.
“He's played very well,” says Hitchcock. “He had a tough start in Detroit and then really rebounded in the second and third period and then I thought played great in Calgary."
Allen’s father Kurt hasn’t been able to see his son play in the NHL yet, but he’s been following his every move.
“I'm still kind of in awe and it's almost like I'm going to wake up and it's a bit of a dream,” he says. “I'm constantly getting e-mails and texts from my friends and friends that I haven't seen for years and people that live in Calgary and Vancouver and things like that, you don't usually talk to very often."
He says his son’s mental strength is the best it’s ever been.
“He looks so calm and cool and the best evidence of it was last night in the shootout, like, I just couldn't believe how calm,” he says. “He's got Kesler and Burrows, two of the best shootout guys there are bearing down on him and he just didn't seem like he's one bit rattled."
Roger Shannon is the director of scouting for the Quebec Major Junior League’s Moncton Wildcats and is also Allen’s uncle. Shannon says Allen’s run likely won’t last and he could end up back in the AHL again.
However, Allen is giving management in St. Louis reason to think.
"Jake's the kind of guy that's going to say thank you very much for the opportunity, I'll go down and I'll do my best, I'll be ready, but you better be prepared to make a decision on me because I'm coming back," says Shannon.
For now, Allen remains in the NHL and his friends and family will keep watching and keep rooting for him.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Andy Campbell