St. Louis Blues: Is Joel Hofer too good to stay in St. Louis?

With a rather impressive and arguably breakout season under his belt, Joel Hofer has garnered respect within the St. Louis Blues organization. All this begs the question: Could he depart sooner or later?
St Louis Blues v Boston Bruins
St Louis Blues v Boston Bruins / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

In NHL hockey, you can't maintain two elite goaltenders on the same team, or at least not for long.

Goalies want to play and create their own legacy.

While it might be premature to name Joel Hofer elite, his 2023-24 appearance skyrocketed his value in the league.

At 23 years old, he recorded a .914 save percentage in 30 games.

Without a doubt, teams within the league would probably move to make him their starter.

At what point could the duo of Jordan Binnington and Joel Hofer be broken up?

While Hofer is younger than Binnington, Binnington has a Cup victory and proven playoff experience.

Binnington has plenty of time left in his career if he remains healthy, and he is obviously itching to return to the playoffs.

Hofer's contract expires after the 2024-25 season, and if he plays anywhere near where he did this season, he will most likely be gone.

GM Doug Armstrong shouldn't attempt to trade him, nor Binnington, or at least not yet.

In the rare circumstance that Hofer outperforms Binnington in the next season's play, Armstrong's hands could be tied in a decision he might have to make to commit to Hofer's future.

However, this is a long shot, as Binnington's numbers have not decreased, and he remains an all-time favorite player in franchise history.

Hofer won't be a free agent until 2025, and then he'll have restricted free agent status. This implies that the Blues have the upper hand.

Hofer could play lights out and add to his already substantial trade value.

One thing is certain: If he continues on the path he has already shown, the Blues will have some tough decisions. All eyes are on the conclusion of the 2024-25 season, which could see Hofer leaving for a record deal or maybe even getting traded to further bolster the Blues roster.

While it's sad to even speculate about a future without him, given his productivity, two talented goalies simply don't mesh in the NHL.