Does Joel Hofer give the St. Louis Blues the best goaltending tandem in the NHL?

Joel Hofer's emergence in the 2023-24 season as a backup to star goaltender Jordan Binnington gives the Blues a rock solid foundation as a baseline; what is the true ceiling of this tandem?
Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

In his first season of real NHL playing time, St. Louis Blues backup goalie Joel Hofer was nothing short of extraordinary.

A Robin to Binnington's Batman, Hofer posted a .914 save percentage in 30 games. This mark landed Hofer at 9th in the NHL and just ahead of Binnington's mark of .913, which saw the starter tied for 10th of all qualified NHL goalies.

Hofer's rise to the St. Louis Blues

Hofer posted back to back impressive seasons with the Springfield Thunderbirds, posting save percentages over .900. The young backstop especially shone in 2022-23 with a stat line of 2.50 GAA and a .921 SV% in 47 games with the Thunderbirds.

Hofer made a couple of spot starts for the Blues that season, but his first real opportunity came the following year when he made the team as the club's backup.

The makings of an elite goaltender?

The young player took advantage of the opportunities he had to play and exceeded all expectations, even for a goalie prospect with some buzz.

Hofer made a number of impressive saves on the year, showing off his lightning-quick reflexes and good positioning between the pipes.

Joel Hofer saves a shot from Auston Matthews
Joel Hofer quickly shutting down the league's top goal scorer, Auston Matthew / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

He shone especially bright on October 26th and February 10th of last season, posting a 27 save shutout against the Calgary Flames and a 34 save shutout of the Buffalo Sabers. He stole both games from teams with talented forwards on the road, showing excellent resilience in the process.

Working with Jordan Binnington

Being the backup to NHL star Jordan Binnington helped Hofer develop his game into the strong player Blues fans watched this past season.

In an interview with Andy Strickland, Hofer cited Binnington as a great mentor and someone he strives to model his game after, with Binnington's remarkable skill and strong ability to perform in big moments.

"He's been through a lot of big time games and experiences, so I kind of like to pick his brain about that stuff ... He's definitely a mentor for me and someone I look up to."

Joel Hofer

There are certainly some talented goaltenders in the league, but the advantage of the St. Louis Blues is having one as their backup. Very few NHL teams are confident in their starter let alone their backup. With Joel Hofer's emergence, the St. Louis Blues goaltending duo is poised to take the next step as the best tandem in the NHL.