The veteran defenseman joins Shea Theodore in AHL conditioning.
Another one of Anaheim’s training camp injuries will be making their way to Norfolk. Bryan Allen is not as exciting as Shea Theodore and for good reason. Allen has been a full-time professional since 2000, playing for Vancouver, Florida, and Carolina before signing with the Ducks. In his tenure in Anaheim, Allen has often been paired with former Admiral Sami Vatanen as the third d-pairing.
The combination in Anaheim is meant to have Allen’s size complement Vatanen’s skill. Bruce Boudreau continues to emphasize this philosophy by teaming Sami Vatanen up with Clayton Stoner (or Mark Fistric). In reality, it creates a giant boat anchor on Vatanen’s puck-carrying play. Bryan Allen is not what should be termed a good defenseman. Truthfully, though he is not a horrid defenseman. It is a bit difficult to stay in the NHL for 14 years by being absolutely awful.
The bulk of Bryan Allen’s play came before the Behind The Net era, so it’s tough to ascertain how well he played for the majority of his years in Vancouver. During his tenure with Florida and Carolina, though, he wasn’t all bad. Allen faced tough competition, started in the defensive zone often, and didn’t have a monumental negative Relative Corsi. None of this points to an amazing defenseman, which is not why Anaheim picked him up. Allen was paid to fit a bottom-pairing role, and he’s done so over the past two seasons. With the Ducks, he’s played less, seen weaker competition, and somehow managed to be worse at possession. As it stands, he’s not the worst defenseman in the NHL.
Said fact makes him valuable for the two games he will play for the Admirals. Norfolk’s blueline is off to an atrocious start and lost one of their better members to recall in Josh Manson. Allen, I figure, will be asked to play at even strength and penalty kill situations. What he won’t do is force Mat Clark to be benched. In fact, I can see Allen being paired with Shea Theodore in another matchup of size and skill; youth and veteran. Josh Manson being on the Ducks means that Anaheim’s current defensemen are Mat Clark, Nate McIver, Brandon Bell, Jesse Blacker, Kevin Gagne, Andrew O’Brien, Shea Theodore, and Bryan Allen. Predicting pairs is a bit difficult here. Let’s take the guess the Gagne will once again move to forward for this weekend and act as a 4th liner/7th D. This leaves another 7 defenseman. Jesse Blacker is constantly losing favor with the coaching staff and the organization. He gets scratched. If Theodore and Allen are together, this leaves Bell, Clark, O’Brien, and McIver. Brendan Bell’s usual partner is Josh Manson, more of a stay-at-home defender (though less than other defenders…). Mat Clark, who has had trouble this year, is matched up to make Bell-Clark. Finally, AOB and McIver reunite for a pair that was successful early on. Thus we have
I cannot guarantee these lines, I simply think this is how they will shake out. One important note is that Mark Fistric was injured Thursday in Anaheim’s game against St. Louis. If Fistric can not go against the Stars, this means that Josh Manson will draw in. Why is this important? Bryan Allen is here 2 games and Manson does need to be returned eventually. Allen’s return to the Ducks would expedite Manson back to Norfolk. Ben Lovejoy, if you are reading this, stop fighting.
Shea Theodore, whom I talked about earlier this week, will be with Norfolk for five games according to Jim Hodges. This covers upcoming home games against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and next week’s road trip to Bridgeport and Syracuse.
Bryan Allen’s stats from hockey-reference.com.