The St. Louis Blues were thrilled when they finally had a player stand out as the true starting goaltender. However, their faith in that player may ultimately be their undoing.
The St. Louis Blues need to sit Jordan Binnington. Now, before half of Blues fandom sets the Twitterverse in flames, this is not a re-sparking of the goaltender debate.
That debate is, or should be, done with. Binnington is the starter for the St. Louis Blues.
However, that does not mean he should start every game. In fact, so far, he has probably started far too many.
I have had this debate with several people and I am not even the originator of it. A friend of mine pointed out on his Facebook how many games Binnington has logged in such a short amount of time.
That is what we forget. We remember the Stanley Cup run and it has almost logged into our brains as something that was last year and maybe longer than that in memory terms, but it’s just over a calendar year back that Binnington got his first start in the NHL.
As of writing this article, the next game that Binnington starts will be he 100th with the St. Louis Blues. Clearly, that includes the 26 playoff games he logged on the run to the Cup.
Regardless of how you slice it, he has put a lot of games on his legs in a short time. For reference, most goaltenders only play 70-75 games in a calendar year. Even if you take away some of January and February, we are still talking about over 90 games logged in the same kind of span.
The most games Binnington ever played in one season was 50 and that was in junior. Even if you add that entire season plus a portion of the next season, you’re still only getting around 70-plus games.
Binnington needs to rest. Jake Allen needs to play.
Allen has played very well in 2019-20 despite limited time. His goals against is 2.26 and his save percentage is .925. For a long time, those numbers were near the top of the league for players that had qualified to be on the top 10 list.
If for no other reason, you would think more Blues fans would want Allen playing to showcase his skills. While the trade murmurs have died down, if there is still a section of the fan base that wants Allen traded, you have to show other teams they’re getting a good goaltender. Sitting on the bench won’t help that cause.
However, this idea really has nothing to do with Allen. The only reason the argument gets stronger is because the Blues have a backup goaltender capable of handling more starts down the stretch.
Still, the argument is about the long-term benefits to Binnington, not trying to lay blame on anyone.
Binnington has looked off. He is letting in goals that he found ways to stop last season. While last season was just short of a miracle, we still know that an average Binnington would be making saves on some of those shots.
As said to others outside of these articles, Binnington is the least of the Blues worries right now. Allen is not the solution either.
The team is not defending well enough. They are not scoring consistently enough. Without all that, short of having Jesus himself in net, you are going to allow goals and lose games.
However, you can see some of the fundamentals slipping from Binnington’s game. That is often due to fatigue.
If the legs are not driving as much as they should, you’re going to cheat. You will stay farther back in the net and rely more on reaction time rather than cutting off the angles and letting your body do the work.
Nobody but Binnington knows his body. Maybe it just is a run of bad luck and he’s fine.
I think not. I think Binnington’s legs are giving out and no matter how much of a fighter or battler he is, the body can only sustain so much.
We don’t need to hear how there are no back-to-backs coming on the schedule. Do not tell me how there was a two day break between Dallas and Anaheim. It does not matter.
When you log that many games, your body needs actual recovery time. If the Blues do not give that to Binnington by actually taking games away from him, there might not be enough left come playoff time.
I’d rather lose a game here or there during the regular season and have him fresh for the playoffs. All Blues fans should want him fresh for the playoffs.
This is not about any goaltender controversy, which was an actual topic when Allen got a couple previous starts in a row. This is about the health of your starter and keeping him as charged as possible come the time when you will need him the most.