We can rant and rave all we want, but Jordan Binnington doesn’t have to do anything for the rest of his career and he’ll be a St. Louis legend. We’re shocked they don’t already have a statue of him next to Federko and drunk Brett Hull. He’s the only goalie to backstop the Blues to a Cup, and hence he’ll always be a God. Funny how he only had to do that once and yet Corey Crawford has done it twice here and yet a large swath of Hawks fans still think he’s worth pissing on. What the fuck is going on in the world today?
The thing with Binnington is that he’s gotten caught in that web of hockey coverage and analysis–which again, has somehow eluded Crawford even though he’s done it twice (!)–that states if you’re a goalie that’s won a Cup you’re obviously great. Jonathan Quick rode that for half a decade or more and a huge contract and he’s really been nothing more than average for almost all of his career. And while Binnington hasn’t proven to be that low on the totem pole yet, it’s a little harder to judge what he actually is.
Binnington’s rep was built last winter in January and February. In 18 starts over those two months, Binnington put up a .943 and only lost two of those starts in regulation as the Blues rocketed from last in the league to safely into the playoffs (something the Hawks are still convinced can just happen and paying no attention to how the Blues were constructed, but that’s for another time).
But from there, Binnington was…ok? He was .912 through the rest of the season, which is just a tick over league average. The narrative is that he carried the Blues on his back through four rounds, but that’s not really the case. He went .914 in the playoffs, which is fine, even good, but hardly “carrying” a team. The Jets were quitting, the Stars still can’t score, and the Sharks played without a goalie and a healthy Erik Karlsson. That’s not to belittle the Blues run (well, maybe a little), you can only play who’s in front of you, but to illustrate that Binnington didn’t have to go Roy ’86 to get the Blues to the promiseland.
It hasn’t changed much this year. Binnington is at a perfectly reasonable .913 for the season, and the Blues sit atop the conference standings. He’s gotten some help as Jake Allen has really taken to a backup role, so the Blues get no dropoff there and can give Binnington more nights off than they might have planned.
But again, it’s been streaky. Binnington was brilliant in October and November, but then woeful in December and January. So perhaps we can just conclude he’s streaky? Which probably makes him like every other goaltender on the planet, but also doesn’t make him goalie royalty either.
Which might make the summer interesting. Binnington is up for an extension as he’ll have one year left on his deal after this one. You would think that the only goalie to have a ring in Missouri at age 26 is an automatic extension for as long as possible, and that’s likely what the Blues will do. However, they were reasonable with this current two-year deal he’s on now, which he signed after the Cup win. After all, we’re talking about a player who has only been in the NHL for barely a season.
If Binnington were to snuff it in the playoffs this year, which is what Blues should be doing, he would be on something of a prove-it season next term. Which sounds strange given what he’s already meant down there. The Blues being rational? This is getting out of hand…