Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong made a trade with the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, sending goalie Jake Allen and a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft to Montreal in exchange for a third-round pick and a seventh-round pick in the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft.
The deal, Armstrong said, accomplishes two things for the Blues.
First, it frees up some salary cap space, which the Blues will need if they are able to re-sign captain Alex Pietrangelo before free agency opens in October. Second, it creates an opportunity for goalie Ville Husso to finally get a chance at the NHL level after being drafted by the team back in 2014.
"With the flat cap next year and probably moving forward, we wanted to create some space for this (offseason)," Armstrong said during a conference call Wednesday. "Also, I think jointly with that, is trying to incorporate younger players into our group. Ville Husso is a player we've had high hopes for and we believe has earned the right to compete for an NHL job. To do that, you need to create opportunity."
Jordan Binnington's emergence had pushed Allen into a backup role since Janaury 2019.
Video: Armstrong on trading Allen to Canadiens
Allen, who was drafted in the second round by the Blues in 2008 (No. 34 overall), had played his entire career with St. Louis, posting a 148-94-26 record in 289 regular-season games. He leaves St. Louis with the second-most wins as a goaltender in franchise history (148), just three behind Mike Liut (151) for the team lead. In addition, Allen ranks second all time in Blues history in shutouts (21), trailing only Brian Elliott's 25.
"In the years since Jake has been drafted here, we've been one of the top teams in the NHL over that time frame, and Jake was a big part of that success," Armstrong said. "He's been a great teammate for everyone and a great partner for whoever he played with. Given the opportunity with Brian Elliott, he grabbed the job and took us into a playoff run. And last year when Binnington came in, he was the ultimate pro and supported Jordan and gave us the games that we needed. Going into this year - Binnington's first year as a perceived starter - Jake was there when we needed him to play and played very well.
"The quality teammate people talk about is a reflection of the quality person he is."