Jake Allen was traded to the Montreal Canadiens by the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday for a third- and seventh-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
The Blues also received a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. The third- and seventh-round picks in 2020 were acquired in trades with the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks, respectively.
"I'm definitely looking to have a great next season, especially a new start in Montreal," Allen said. "I'm looking forward to a new opportunity. A new opportunity opens a lot of doors, and I'm looking forward to putting on a Canadiens sweater for the first time. And yeah, I know the business side of the game too. I'm not naive, but it could be a great opportunity for me moving forward."
The 30-year-old was 12-6-3 with an NHL career-best 2.15 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 24 games (21 starts) this season. He was 2-1-1 with a 1.89 GAA and .935 save percentage in five games in the postseason, including starting Games 3, 4 and 5 in place of Jordan Binnington against the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference First Round, which the Blues lost in six games.
Binnington started Game 6, but after allowing four goals on 14 shots he was pulled and replaced in the second period by Allen, who made five saves in the 6-2 loss. Binnington finished the postseason 0-5-0 with an NHL-worst 4.72 GAA and .851 save percentage (minimum five games).
"It gave Jordan Binnington some comfort knowing that his partner had a lot of experience, and he had a good regular season and not the playoffs that he wanted," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "I think this does show that our faith is that we're going to take Jordan Binnington's NHL career going back to January of '19 through today and say there was a lot more positives than negatives and we believe he could be the man."
Video: St. Louis Trades Jake Allen To Montreal
Allen had been St. Louis' starter before Binnington made 25 saves in a 3-0 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 7, 2019, becoming the 35th goalie to earn a shutout in his first NHL start. Binnington would then help the Blues go from last place in the NHL standings to third in the Central Division before starting all 26 games of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, which culminated in the Blues winning the Cup for the first time in their history.
"Last year, Allen came in and he was the ultimate pro, supported Jordan and gave us the games that we needed, and going into this year, being Binnington's first year as the perceived starter, Jake was there when we needed him to play and played very well," Armstrong said. "He's just a quality teammate that people talk about as a reflection of the quality of person that he is."
Allen should be able to provide a similar role in Montreal as the veteran backup to Carey Price, who started 58 of the Canadiens' 71 regular-season games. Charlie Lindgren (six starts), Keith Kinkaid (five) and Cayden Primeau (two) were a combined 4-6-3 behind Price, who was 27-25-6 with a 2.79 GAA, .909 save percentage and four shutouts.
Price had a 1.78 GAA, .936 save percentage and two shutouts in 10 games this postseason.
"The role that I'll be playing is obviously behind one of the best goalies in the world and a guy who's been a dominant force in the League, and it's to provide just another assurance for the team," Allen said. "I feel like I played that role last year very well behind Binnington. I feel like I can come into this spot and give Carey breaks when he needs them and play well for the team and go from there. I'm looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity, but I've been through a lot of different circumstances in my career and it's really nothing major new to me."
Armstrong cited a desire to create NHL salary cap space for the Blues, who are hoping to re-sign defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, an unrestricted free agent, in the offseason. Allen is entering the final season of a four-year contract with an average annual value of $4.35 million and can be an unrestricted free agent after next season.
Asked whether trading Allen helps the Blues in trying to re-sign Pietrangelo, Armstrong said, "Obviously I don't think we've made any secret that we'd love to get Alex signed, and I think Alex has made it known that he would like to sign here, so we're going to have to work through that. At the end of the day, it's a math equation."
Ville Husso, who has played the past four seasons in the American Hockey League, will likely back up Binnington after signing a two-year, one-way contract Jan. 30. The 25-year old was 16-17-8 with a 2.56 GAA and .909 save percentage in 42 games with San Antonio this season.
"Husso is a player we've had high hopes for and believe has earned his right to compete for an NHL job, and to do that you have to create opportunity," Armstrong said.
Selected by St. Louis in the second round (No. 34) in the 2008 NHL Draft, Allen is 148-94-26 with a 2.50 GAA, .913 save percentage and 21 shutouts in 289 regular-season games (271 starts), and 11-11-1 with a 2.06 GAA and .924 save percentage in 29 postseason games (23 starts).
NHL.com independent correspondents Sean Farrell and Louie Korac contributed to this report.