Falls resident joins Kraken as scout
The Seattle Kraken are sure to have at least a few fans in Niagara Falls when they begin play in the 2021/22 National Hockey League season.
The Kraken hired Niagara Falls native Dave Baseggio as their director of professional scouting and have also added Falls resident Andrew Allen as pro scout in charge of goaltenders.
“Dave got the job and a lot of my friends — we’ve been here five years — asked me if I knew who my boss was,” Allen said. “They all know him so it’s a small world.”
Allen, who is from the Ottawa area, moved to Niagara Falls five years ago when he was hired as the goaltending coach for the Buffalo Sabres.
“We moved for the Buffalo job and decided to stay in Canada and settled in Niagara Falls,” Allen said. “It’s 30 minutes door to door for me to the rink and my kids stayed in Ontario schools and my wife works for the Canadian Federal Government.”
Allen has a long and varied background in the sport as both a player and a coach. The 44-year-old attended the University of Vermont where he spent four seasons before playing professionally for five years in the American Hockey League and ECHL.
From 2006 to 2011, Allen worked with the Japan men’s national ice hockey team as a goaltending coach, and also served as a goaltending coach for St. Lawrence University from 2008 to 2011. He joined the Rockford IceHogs’ coaching staff before being hired by the Sabres in 2015.
Allen was happy in Buffalo but the lure of working with a new organization was appealing.
“When (Seattle general manager) Ron Francis called me and explained what they were doing from a goaltending standpoint to get them started from scratch and get us to the point where we’re going to pick goaltenders for the team, it was something that was a no-brainer,” he said. “To be part of something at the grassroots level, to start from scratch and have input from the start, it was something I have really enjoyed and was really excited that was available to me.”
Allen said his time in Buffalo working directly with the goaltenders gives him a unique insight as a scout.
“Having been in the NHL as a coach you know day-to-day what it entails,” he said. “It does give us a little bit of a unique vantage point that I have seen it and have worked with the NHL goalies and I think that’s the value I bring to the organization.
“Being more goalie specific, I see some things other normal scouts wouldn’t from a technical standpoint. I’m looking for things that will be transferable into the NHL. It’s a whole spectrum. You’re not just looking if the goalie can stop the puck. You’re looking at off ice habits, character, work habits, and all the physical attributes as well.”
Allen is following the same career path as Welland native Ben Vanderklok, who was a coach in Nashville’s minor league system before being promoted to the Predators.
“I was developmental goalie coach Chicago before Buffalo so I worked with all goalies in organization outside the NHL,” he said. “Your dream, once you’re in that position, is to be a full time NHL coach. I got to see and feel I did belong. I was able to work at the highest level in hockey and it opens other doors and opportunities.”
Allen said the Kraken have high hopes for their inaugural season.
“With the rules being the exact same as the Vegas expansion draft the bar has been set very high my them and we look to compete right off the bat and hopefully have as much success as Vegas, if not a little bit more,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you have to put a good foundation in place. Based on the rules, we should have some good players available.
“From what I hear, GM’s and organizations probably learned from that Vegas draft so who knows if we’ll get the exact benefits they did. At the same time, we’ve had enough time to prepare that we should have some good picks available to us.”
Allen scouted last season strictly by video but has been able to attend some games live this season. He isn’t sure what his job will entail after the Kraken make their selections at the NHL expansion draft in July.
“We’re just working to get through the expansion draft and then I hope to stay involved in the organization, the coaching side or the scouting side. I’ve been able to do both over my career and have experience on both sides.
“I’m excited to see where it goes. It’s such a great organization from the top down. It’s such a great group of people I’m happy to be part of it.”
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