The St. Louis Blues have quite a few issues regarding their roster as they enter the 2017-18 season. While injury has presented the biggest problem, the minor league issue is rearing its head as well.
The St. Louis Blues knew they were going to have problems once the Chicago Wolves switched affiliation to the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Even though St. Louis knew it was coming, there was not enough time to get their ducks in a row.
Now, the minor league situation is rearing its head. Player futures are in question without a suitable home to place them. It has not had a large impact – until now.
Jordan Binnington is without a place to play and there is no telling where he will end up. He is a man without a future right now.
The Blues placed Binnington on waivers not long after their final preseason game. As of writing this, Binnington has not been claimed by any other NHL team.
So, the issue is not that the Blues might lose him. The problem is the team has no place to put him.
As brought up in a recent Post-Dispatch piece, the Blues already sent Ville Husso to the San Antonio Rampage. Since the Rampage are still the affiliate of Colorado, St. Louis was lucky enough they had space for him.
That luck does not exist with the Chicago Wolves. Though the Blues have sent several skaters to the Wolves, the Las Vegas Golden Knights already stockpiled their goaltenders. There is not a spot available with them.
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Thus, the Blues are left waiting for a team to need help. They have to hope Binnington will clear waivers, which is likely. After that, who knows what is going to happen.
The truth is we knew this was a likely scenario. For whatever reason, it seemed likely the Blues would not have to face this issue with the goaltending.
Looking back, it is unclear why myself or anyone would make such an assumption. There are only a handful of goaltending spots not claimed in the minor leagues. For whatever reason, it just seemed more plausible that skaters would be scattered throughout the AHL.
You almost feel sorry for Binnington. At this stage of his career, it seems unlikely that he will catch on in the NHL. If he did, it would likely be as a backup.
At this stage, you wonder if it would be better if another team claimed him. It would definitely take away depth from the Blues, but the writing is on the wall regarding his future.
The Blues have Jake Allen for the foreseeable future. Ville Husso is expected to be the one to take over if Allen falters or simply when his time comes.
So, what is Binnington’s future with the team? The best he can hope for with the Blues is to take over the backup role once Carter Hutton’s contract runs out.
Even then, it is hard to tell if he would be suitable for the NHL. In the minors, his goals against average has been in the mid 2’s.
Binnington had a good playoff run in 2017, posting a 1.86 goals against and .950 save percentage. Still, that was only in two games as Husso got most of the work.
Hopefully for his own future Binnington finds a spot. While I am not his biggest fan, you still want the best for guys who have put in the time and work.
Binnington’s current minor league future will also be a template for what might happen with other prospects. With the Blues not in charge of any affiliates, there is always the possibility that spots dry up when St. Louis tries to send people down.
We’re getting our first taste of how this is all going to work out this year. Unfortunately for Binnington, he had to be the guinea pig.