If you like feisty, yet also calm play in net, coupled with complete and utter humorless answers to media questions – maybe it’s a dry humor that even the British would compare to the desert – then you’ll love the news. The St. Louis Blues pulled a headline out of left field and signed goaltender Jordan Binnington to an extension.
The deal is for six years. It will be for a total of $36 million, averaging out to a cap hit of $6 million per season.
Despite being the only Stanley Cup champion in Blues history, Binnington still has die-hard fans and detractors. That’s the life of a goaltender, really. Only the netminder for the Philadelphia Flyers has it worse with more consistency, regarding fan reception.
The positives for Binnington is that the team rallies for him more often than not. You need look no further than his sudden outburst while heading to the locker room after being benched against the San Jose Sharks. Even if you thought the act was childish, which it was really, the team did rally behind it.
Despite an overall cool nature, Binnington is not one to be trifled with. He will not take anything from anyone.
He makes the majority of the saves he should and plenty that he should not. He’s no Dominik Hasek, but he’s flexible and athletic. He’s also got a ring.
More from St Louis Blues News
- St. Louis Blues Giving Nick Ritchie A Look Is No Lose Situation
- St. Louis Blues Torey Krug Already Injured Before 2023-24 Season
- Former St. Louis Blues Forward Going Into Hall Of Fame
- Can Hofer Upstage Binnington in Starting Goalie Spot for Blues?
- St. Louis Blues 2023-24 fourth line depth chart could be surprisingly strong
The negatives for Binnington are that we still don’t have a concrete grasp on what he will be. The 2020 playoffs put the fear of God into Blues fans with how poorly he played. Binnington did not cost the Blues that series as nobody played well at all, but he did not carry them either. The Blues played much better with Jake Allen in goal in the 2020 playoffs.
2021 has been a mixed bag. Binnington has bailed the Blues out of plenty of jams and gained them wins or overtime points in games where they did not deserve them. The counter to that is he has let in his share of soft goals, seems tentative and confused positionally and is often too deep in his net.
His body language just seems off as many nights as he’s on. Binnington doesn’t have a good feel for the puck right now either, often allowing juicy rebounds or looking behind him when the puck is squeezed between pads.
Nevertheless, this was a sensible deal. Honestly, it was a deal that almost had to be made.
The free agent class of 2021 left a lot to be desired. Everyone was either well into their 30’s, and not deserving of anything close to a long-term deal, or in their 20’s and even more unproven than Ville Husso.
The only two UFA goalies you might trust to be better than Binnington were Tuukka Rask or Frederik Andersen. Rask is 34 and has already hinted at retirement. Andersen is 31 and despite being constantly embattled in Toronto, it’s not likely the Maple Leafs have better options.
Whether you love Binnington or are luke-warm, this mainly boiled down to money and term. Six years puts him at 33 when the deal is done and that’s still a sweet spot for a goaltender, so if he’s healthy and productive, this is probably not even his last contract.
$6 million feels high for a player that is not trending the right way, but it’s also very affordable within the market. Andersen had been getting $5 million per season and Rask was at $7 million.
It’s a little surprising that Binnington’s agent didn’t seek out more than Connor Hellebuyck‘s $6.17 million. Hellebuyck is often up for more awards, but it’s arguable how much better he is.
$6 million is palatable. There were whispers that he might seek out something as high as $8 million per season, simply because there was nobody at a better value of talent and age on the market.
No offense to Binnington fans, but the Blues should have let him walk if that was the going rate. He doesn’t deserve a 10-year deal and he doesn’t deserve $8 million.
A ring meant everything to Blues fans, but it isn’t everything when judging a player. There are plenty of Super Bowl winning quarterbacks who could not hold a candle to Dan Marino, who never won one.
The worry with anything longer than six at $6 million is how much it would hamstring the Blues. Look at Montreal. They’ve either missed the playoffs or barely made it in the last few years because they can’t afford other players due to Price’s contract and that thing runs until he’s 38/39.
The Blues have plenty of talent, but it always needs to be supplemented. They need flexibility and this is a smart enough deal on both sides to keep the team competitive for years to come.
Now, we just need Binnington to play to his 2019 capabilities. Nobody is asking for anything on the level of what we saw in the 2019 playoffs or Cup Final, but he needs to be better than we saw in parts of 2020.
Consistency is the key. As long as he provides that, he’ll be worth the $6 million.