Over the last 15 to 20 years, the St. Louis Blues have had a plethora of different starting goaltenders. From Manny Legace to Chris Mason, Jaroslav Halak, Ryan Miller(we all would like to forget), Brian Elliott, and Jake Allen.
Now we have Jordan Binnington. It took a bit of time before Binnington established himself as the team’s starter, playing 164 games in the AHL and 40 games in the ECHL before stealing the job in 2018-19 on route to helping the Blues win their first ever Stanley Cup.
Since 2019, Binnington’s numbers have been up and down. He has shown flashes of the dominance he portrayed during the 2018-19 season and in that playoff run.
In 2020, Binnington was an All-Star. In his first full season, his numbers dropped a little bit, but he still showed the promise of being the Blues goalie of the future.
However, his 2019-20 and 2020-21 numbers dropped considerably. Especially in 2019-20, he posted a 0-5 record with 4.71 goals against average(GAA) and a .851 save percentage(SV%).
That trend seemed to continue in the 2021-22 season. Binnington had the worst season of his career, posting a 3.13 GAA and a .901 SV%. By the end of the season and going into the playoffs, Binnington lost his job as the number one goalie.
Ville Husso took over the keys as the Blues’ number one, but after back-to-back losses in the playoffs, the team went to Binnington and he never looked back. He played the best stretch of hockey of his career. Binnington posted a 1.72 GAA and a .949 SV% in 6 games before injuring his knee, which forced him out for the rest of the playoffs(still sad thinking about it). Who knows what could have happened if he did not get injured?
With Husso now gone to Detriot, Binnington is again the unquestioned number one starting goalie for the Blues. The Blues signed Thomas Greiss to a one-year deal to be the backup goalie. No question marks are going into the season on who should start.
Now it is just which version of Binnington will we see next season. Will it be the goalie we saw in the regular season, or will it be the one we saw in the playoffs?
I tend to believe that we will see something closer to what we saw in the 2021-22 playoffs. It looked like he re-found his confidence and the swagger he had during his first season in the league.
Binnington seems to thrive when he has a chip on his shoulder. Coming into this season, he might be playing for his Blues future. It will be tough to replicate his numbers from the 2018-19 regular season, but I believe this season will be the closest we have seen to that Binnington.
Only time will tell.