With the 2021 NHL offseason on the horizon, the St. Louis Blues were going to have decisions to make. Beyond Jordan Binnington, who was always a high priority, the Blues have nine other free agents (11 if you include their taxi squad call ups currently on the NHL roster).
Thankfully, their options will be kept open by Binnington’s willingness to help out. He was under no pressure to do that when he signed a $36 million deal.
Let’s not make it out like Binnington is a saint. The main got paid. $6 million per season is nothing to sneeze at. Depending on what happens in free agency, Binnington would be the 10th highest paid goaltender in the league.
So, it’s not like anyone needs to shed a tear for Binnington. His wallet will be full.
Even with that in mind, there’s no doubt he left money on the table. While you cannot convince me that Binnington is an $8 million per season player, based on the limited free agent class of 2021, Binnington could have used desperate teams to build up his value.
There is little doubt that Binnington would have been the best available free agent goaltender. He could easily have commanded more money if he or his agent really wanted to push in that direction.
However, instead of trying to wring out every dollar and cent, Binnington got a good raise and also set up the Blues for success. He wants to win.
“Being on a competitive team was something that matters to me,” Binnington said, as reported by Tom Timmermann “and I’m not looking to crush the bank. It’s not about money to me. At the end of the day, I think what you look back on and feel in your heart is the memories made and just competing and being successful and going through tough times and getting out of them and being there for your teammates. We’ve got a good respected group here and I’m excited.”
While $6 million is not cheap, it gives the Blues plenty of wiggle room. They only have $63 million committed to 2021-22, so knowing exactly what Binnington costs helps them regarding other contracts.
It gives the Blues the ability to keep a good goaltending tandem. If Ville Husso doesn’t work out, $6 million does not break the bank so the Blues would still have funds available for an upgrade if that’s needed.
As fans, we wish more athletes had that mentality. Deep down, we know they’re being paid more than what those jobs are probably worth in terms of contribution to society, but we want there to still be athletes who are willing to take less for the sake of the team.
Whether you hate him or love him, you cannot deny that the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers won championships because Tom Brady took less than the market said he was worth. He did this so those teams could get more talented players throughout the team.
Binnington did the same. Unlike the Montreal Canadiens and Carey Price‘s unholy contract, the Blues can still flesh out a great roster without worrying about how long the contract is or who they have to get rid of to continue affording it.
Everyone is entitled to what they feel they’re worth. More teams would have more chances of winning if you had players like Binnington and owners willing to spend like the Blues.