Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Chris McAllister played Tier II junior with the home town Royals before moving up to the local Blades of the WHL in 1992-93. He was chosen 40th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, then spent his first two pro seasons with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch. The towering defenceman split the next two seasons between the NHL and the minors but was unable to land a permanent spot on the Canucks' blueline.
In February 1999, the Toronto Maple Leafs sought the hulking rearguard as they prepared for the playoffs. He was traded east in exchange for Darby Hendrickson and was a steady addition to the defense corps. McAllister spent only parts of two seasons in Toronto and was traded to the Flyers during training camp in 2000.
McAllister played parts of three seasons in Philly before he joined the Colorado Avalanche during the 2002-03 season. McAllister stay in Colorado would be short lived. In the latter stages of the 2003-04 season, the Avs dealt McAllister in a package deal to the New York Rangers.