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Coventry Blaze

Carter Allen addition addresses Coventry Blaze’s defensive gaps

The 27-year-old arrives at the Skydome Arena with a well-established reputation for playing a solid, albeit unspectacular, defensive game.

641f6ef1ce870, British Ice Hockey

The Coventry Blaze have attempted to solidify their blueline, signing defensive defenceman Carter Allen to a contract for the remainder of the Elite League season.

Born in Lambton Shores, Ontario, the Canadian arrives at the Skydome Arena with two seasons of professional experience in the ECHL.

When quizzed about the 27-year-old, Coventry head coach Danny Stewart said: “Carter is a very steady guy that will complement what we have already. He plays a very physical game, puts his body on the line and is tough to play against.

“He’s another guy that we can use on the penalty kill and it was important for us to add some depth there. He will block shots, be heavy on guys, and play a simple game.”

With that in mind, British Ice Hockey recaps Allen’s career, provides an overview of his skillset, and forecasts his role with the Blaze.

Who is Coventry Blaze defenceman Carter Allen?

Allen has repeatedly burnished his credentials as a solid and trustworthy defenceman, dating back to his play for the Stratford Cullitons in the Junior-B Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.

The left-shooting defender moved across the border to try his hand at the collegiate level, recording 22 points (four goals, 18 assists) in 82 NCAA II appearances for SUNY-Oswego.

Allen inked his first professional deal in 2021, signing with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays.

After two seasons, 13 points (one goal, 12 assists), and 90 appearances in North America’s third division, he put pen to paper on a one-year contract with Stewart’s Blaze.

Will Carter Allen improve the Coventry Blaze defensively?

The Blaze have made an unspectacular start to the season, taking zero regulation wins from their opening five league encounters.

Unhappily for Stewart, his squad also leads the Elite League in goals against (24) and goals against per game (4.8).

The Blaze have been okay offensively, averaging 3.4 goals for per game, but their sinking blueline has let them down in the early running.

For that reason, Stewart released Josh Burnside – who impressed in flashes but never looked comfortable in Coventry – last week and replaced him with Allen.

carter allen --- Danny Stewart, Coventry Blaze (Image: Scott Wiggins)

Danny Stewart, Coventry Blaze (Image: Scott Wiggins)

Allen is less of an offensive threat than Burnside, who excelled on the breakout, but he addresses Coventry’s need for a heavy-hitting, reliable presence on the blueline.

In other words, he is exactly what the Blaze need and projects as a sensible addition to their squad.

Where will Carter Allen play in the Coventry Blaze’s line-up?

Allen, who feels most at home in a left-defence position, arrives in the West Midlands hoping to earn a top-four role on his new team.

Since the departure of Burnside, the Blaze have rolled with three settled pairs:

  • James Shearer – Brady Norrish
  • Blake Thompson – Alexander Kuqali
  • Archie Hazeldine – David Clements

There is every chance that Allen will join Norrish on Stewart’s top pair, bumping Shearer, Thompson, and Hazeldine – who has averaged a smudge over four minutes per appearance thus far – down the line-up.

The Blaze have extracted positive value from the right side of their defence to start the year, with Norrish and Clements excelling on the powerplay and Kuqali thriving at even strength.

The addition of Allen will reinforce Coventry defensively and lighten the load on Shearer, who has struggled versus top-line opposition to start the year.

While Allen, who is available for selection versus the Cardiff Devils this weekend, is unlikely to set the world ablaze, his steady influence should help the Blaze in their bid to move up the standings as spooky season is traded for the countdown to Christmas.

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