The Bryan Allen Debate: Looking At His Time In Florida, As Told By A Panther Fan

Screening your own goaltender - he hasn't lost that over the years - Rick Stewart

Does the old saying 'history always repeats itself' hold true for Bryan Allen and his time as an Anaheim Duck? We need to know the history before we are able to judge if the saying is true.

One of the most polarizing players on the Ducks roster this year is defenseman Bryan Allen.

Some fans believe he is the worst defenseman in the universe and the Ducks should use one of their two amnesty buyouts to get rid of him and his three-year, $3.5 million dollar contract.

Other fans believe the nine games played is too small of a sample size because Allen is still getting used to Bruce's system. He's also had to deal with switching his defensive partner a couple times due to the injury of his original partner, Cam Fowler.

Both sides have good arguments; however, without an objective look at the playing history of Allen, we're all just speculating. This is why I've asked two of our fellow SBNation NHL sites, Litter Box Cats and Canes Country to give us a little insight into their time with Allen on their respective rosters.

In today's stream for the game against Dallas and tomorrow's stream for the game against St. Louis, we'll be featuring the pieces written by our colleagues.

Up first, Todd Little from Litter Box Cats, home of all things Florida Panthers (including George Parros, sad face).

Bryan Allen became a member of the Florida Panthers via a trade that most of the club fan's wish never happened.

On June 23, 2006, the Panthers dealt franchise goaltender Roberto Luongo, defenseman Lukas Krajicek and a sixth round selection in the 2006 entry draft to the Vancouver Canucks for Allen, Todd Bertuzzi and Alex Auld. It was hoped the face-lift would help break the club's long playoff drought. The Panthers promptly signed Allen, who was a restricted free-agent at the time.

Allen had just completed his second full NHL season and the Panthers seemed to be getting a big, top-notch, shutdown defender entering the prime of his career. Allen was those things, just not to the extent many of the fans in Florida hoped for, especially after being teased by his highly effective first year in Sunrise.

Allen's debut season in Florida was the best of his career. The new Cat played in all 82 games, scored 4 goals and set career highs with 21 assists and 25 points. He finished with a plus-7 rating and his physical play earned him 112 PIM.

Paired with Jay Bouwmeester most of the time, Allen was a big part of a solid Panther defensive effort which helped Ed Belfour ably fill the shoes of the departed Luongo as the Panthers surrendered the same amount of goals (257) as they did the prior season. Despite missing the playoffs again, the club finished with a winning record and seemed no worse for wear after making the blockbuster trade. During the summer, the Panthers signed Allen to a lucrative five-year contract extension.

While the 2007-08 campaign was a good one for Allen (he was named one of the team's alternate captains) there was a little bit of slippage. The Panthers improved overall defensively, which Allen deserves some credit for, but the physical element to his game was lacking when compared to his first season in Sunrise. Allen was still a plus player (plus-5) but his offensive numbers fell to 2 goals and 14 assists. Allen saw his shot total fall from 99 to 67 as well. While Allen was not known as an offensive defenseman but any stretch, a drop in his output was felt on the goal-starved Panthers. He just wasn't as involved, in all facets, as he was during year one. Florida did finish with a winning record again but could not end the playoff jinx.

Allen's third season in Florida was a complete washout. He missed all but two games due to a knee injury. The Panthers had a very good regular season despite his loss as newly acquired blueliners Bryan McCabe and Keith Ballard helped the Panthers to a strong 93 point finish. The team lost out on the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by virtue of a tiebreaker to the Montreal Canadiens.

Allen returned to the Florida lineup for the 2009-10 season. No longer an alternate captain, he appeared in 74 games, scoring 4 goals and adding 9 assists. His return helped solidify the Panthers' defense which remained stout despite the loss of Bouwmeester. Allen did ratchet up his physical play to some extent but he seemed easier to beat in his own end after the injury. Unfortunately, the offensively inept club took a big plunge in the standings and change was coming to Sunrise.

Dale Tallon took over as the general manager for the Panthers prior to the start of the 2010-11 season. Veteran players were put on notice and needed to play up to the value of their contracts if they wanted to have any chance of staying in Sunrise. Allen was one of many who didn't make it. He played in 53 games for the Cats that season before being dealt to the Carolina Hurricanes on February 28th for pending free-agent Sergei Samsonov in a clear salary dump.

He was helping out a bit offensively before the trade, scoring 4 goals and chipping in 8 assists, but his play in his own end was still not what it used to be during his early days in Florida. He departed for Raleigh with a minus-5 rating and 63 PIM.

Due to Todd Betuzzi's back limiting him to a grand total of 7 games for the Panthers and with Alex Auld not amounting to much either, Allen became the surviving centerpiece of the much-maligned trade of Roberto Luongo by default. This, along with his healthy contract extension and high draft pedigree, put him squarely under the microscope of some fans, leading to a fair share of criticism. The lack of a playoff appearance during his stint with the organization didn't help matters either.

Bryan Allen was a top-four defender for much of his time with the Panthers but he was never the player he was during that initial season. Allen was a solid soldier, playing a healthy amount of minutes and not missing many games other than the season he lost to injury.

He was sometimes good but mostly just average; he tried hard and was a leader but played softer than expected, especially for being such an imposing physical specimen. With Bryan Allen, there was always the sense that there was more to be had and that he should have just been better. Fair or unfair, he will always be remembered most for being part of the trade that Panther fans would like to forget.

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