Joel Hofer's success this season is key to Blues Future

Vegas Golden Knights v St Louis Blues
Vegas Golden Knights v St Louis Blues / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

Joel Hofer made a statement in his first NHL season. After starting six games in 2022-2023, the expectation was that Hofer would be the full-time backup to Jordan Binnington and give the Blues some good starts when called upon. Hofer exceeded expectations, going from backup goaltender to a 1B goalie who could arguably be a starter for any team in the NHL.

With Hofer's emergence this season, the Blues are in a great position with their goaltending. Jordan Binnington now has a capable goalie behind him and doesn't have to worry about being overworked anymore. This season was third time in Binnington's seven-year career where he started 50+ games.

The Blues haven't had a goaltending tandem this strong since 2019-2020, when Binnington and Jake Allen had .912 and .927 save percentages respectively. That year the Blues finished first in the central and had a legitimate chance to win back-to-back cups if it weren't for the pause due to COVID 19. Hofer and Binnington's 2023-2024 season should give the organization no reason to worry about goaltending for a while.

Joel Hofer had a case for the Calder Trophy.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Connor Bedard, Brock Faber, and Luke Hughes were the finalists for the Calder Trophy. A goaltender has not won the award since 2009, but Hofer should've gotten some consideration for the award. His .914 save percentage was ranked 9th in the NHL this season.

Hofer wouldn't have won the award over the three finalists. But if there was a separate Calder award for goaltenders, Hofer would be near the top of the list. He was statistically one of the best rookie goaltenders in the league. Hofer needs to be at this level again next season for the Blues to reach their full potential.

If Hofer repeats his performance from this year next season, the Blues will be competitive and have a shot every night. Like mentioned above, both goalies were good enough to be starters on their own. They will be a deadly duo for years to come.