Jordan Binnington is in the final season of his contract and the St. Louis Blues intend to re-sign the pending unrestricted free agent.
The 27-year-old goalie agreed to a two-year, $8.8 million contract ($4.4 million average annual value) July 13, 2019, one month after setting the rookie record for Stanley Cup Playoff wins, going 16-10 with a 2.46 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and one shutout in 26 games to help the Blues win the Stanley Cup for the first time in their 51-season history.
“We drafted him, and he took the long road to get here, but since he’s been here, we’ve had success, and obviously we’re hoping to find a way to keep him here,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told The Athletic in comments published Thursday.
Selected by St. Louis in the third round (No. 88) of the 2011 NHL Draft, Binnington moved up from fourth on the Blues depth chart during his rookie season (2018-19), when he was a finalist for the Calder Trophy given to the NHL rookie of the year. He was 24-5-1 with a 1.89 GAA, .927 save percentage and five shutouts in 32 regular-season games (30 starts) and opted to sign a shorter contract rather than a long-term deal.
This offseason, notable goalie contracts included Jacob Markstrom with the Calgary Flames (six years, $36 million; $6 million AAV), Robin Lehner with the Vegas Golden Knights (five years, $25 million; $5 million AAV), Matt Murray with the Ottawa Senators (four years, $25 million; $6.25 AAV), and Braden Holtby with the Vancouver Canucks (two years, $8.6 million; $4.3 million AAV)
“[Binnington] bet on himself, and he’s going to get paid like those guys, expect to be paid, and will get paid like the guys that have had success,” Armstrong said. “I think around the League, he’s looked at as a good No. 1, and that’s the way we’ll look at him as.”
Last season, Binnington was 30-13-7 with a 2.56 GAA, .912 save percentage and three shutouts in 50 games, but struggled in the playoffs (0-5-0, 4.72 GAA, .851 save percentage). He has rebounded this season, going 7-3-2 with a 2.37 GAA and .918 save percentage in 12 games.
Ville Husso, the Blues backup, is in his first NHL season. He’s 2-2-0 with a 3.74 GAA and .875 save percentage in five games (four starts).
“If you look at [Binnington’s] age and you look at what he’s accomplished, you know most teams have a No. 1 guy, and we have a No. 1 guy,” Armstrong said. “Certainly, if he’s not here, we’re going to have to go find another partner for Husso. So our goal is to keep him here, obviously.”