3 St. Louis Blues players who surprised fans this season

The St. Louis Blues spent most of 2023-24 as a bubble team mired in inconsistencies, but they also had quite a few players more than exceeded expectations.
St Louis Blues v Ottawa Senators
St Louis Blues v Ottawa Senators / Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/GettyImages
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Joel Hofer is already looking like a future 1A

Just for a disclaimer, Jordan Binnington will and should be the 1A next season, but note the keyword - IA. In 2023-24, Binnington played in 56 contests at the time of this writing, making him more of an overall starter as opposed to a 1A, and Joel Hofer, the backup, even if the latter saw more time in the crease than the average No. 2 goaltender. 

Given Hofer’s performance this season, fans should be comfortable if the organization gives him at least 35 (or more) starts, cutting more into Binnington’s time between the pipes. Though his sample size was far smaller with just 30 appearances and 27 starts, Hofer logged a 0.913 save percentage, a 2.65 GAA and he earned his first of what should be quite a few shutouts. 

Like Neighbours, few of us probably saw Hofer performing so well so early, given the way he played in his first eight games in the NHL. Between the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, Hofer finished 4-2-1, but he also ended up with a 0.900 save percentage and a 3.18 GAA, a substantial difference from what he showed us this season. 

His quality starts percentage during those years sat at just 0.375, but this season, it was a much-improved 0.593. Next year, we should see an even greater version of Joel Hofer, and he will do his part in perhaps helping the Blues return to the playoffs.