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The St. Louis Blues Need to Extend Promising Goalie’s Contract

Extend Joel Hofer

In order to keep their goaltending core together, the St. Louis Blues need to extend Joel Hofer. Doing it now can save them money.

The Blues Goalie Tandem

Jordan Binnington and Joel Hofer will be the Blues goalie team for a second-straight season. Both had successful seasons last year. Binnington went 28-21-5 with a .913 save percentage. Hofer, in his first full NHL season, went 15-12-1 with a .914 save percentage.

Both Binnington and Hofer’s play nearly propelled the Blues back into the playoffs. Binnington and Hofer could be part of the core that helps the Blues return to the playoffs, and eventually contend for another Stanley Cup.

To keep this duo together, the Blues need to extend Hofer’s contract. Binnington’s contract was already extended back in 2021. His contract runs through the 2026-27 season. If the Blues act fast, they can keep Hofer in St. Louis for the foreseeable future while also saving money in the process.

The Blues Are At Their Best With Two Strong Goalies

In the five seasons since the Blues won the 2019 Stanley Cup, they have had two seasons where the team seemed to be legitimate Cup contenders. The first was their Cup-defence season. In a season that was shortened due to the pandemic, the Blues won the Central Division and were the top seed in the Western Conference when the regular season abruptly ended.

The second time was the 2021-22 season. The Blues finished third in the Central Division with 109 points.

Both seasons had a big thing in common. Both teams had two goalies who the Blues could rely on to win games. In the 2019-20 season, Binnington and Jake Allen were one of the best tandems in the league. In 2021-22, Binnington and Ville Husso led the way for the Blues. Allen and Husso made starts in the playoffs for the Blues in both seasons.

Unfortunately for the Blues, they were unable to retain the services of Allen and Husso in both circumstances. Allen’s salary, given when the Blues thought he would be the starter for the future, was too high for the Blues to give to their backup goalie. As such, Allen was traded to the Montreal Canadiens. Two years later, Husso started 38 games in his breakout season due to Binnington’s struggles. Husso, who was becoming an unrestricted free agent, was going to be wanting a salary higher than the Blues would want to give. Husso was traded to the Detroit Red Wings.

The Blues were legitimate Cup contenders with two reliable goalies. The seasons after Allen and Husso left, the Blues had visible problems with their respective backup goalies.

Hofer’s Current Contract

Hofer has one year left on his entry-level contract before he becomes a restricted free agent. As a restricted free agent. Hofer can only be offered a formal contract by the Blues (other interested teams would have to use an offer sheet). Hofer will not become an unrestricted free agent for another four seasons.

Why the Blues Should Extend Hofer Now

While Hofer will not be an unrestricted for four seasons, the Blues need to take advantage of having two reliable goalies. Giving Hofer a contract now guarantees he remains a Blue alongside Binnington. As Hofer continues to develop as a goalie in the NHL, his price will only go up. Signing him now commits to a price for the duration of the contract. The Blues could sign Hofer for a lower cost than what his value will become.

A Possible Contract

The Blues should offer Hofer a five-year contract. That would take him through his restricted free agent seasons. The cap hit can range from $2.5-$3 million a season. This is about half of what Binnington makes (cap hit of $6 million). While it is more than what Hofer would make as a restricted free agent, it would keep Hofer with the Blues. It also keeps Hofer at a salary appropriate for a backup. This would prevent another Allen and Husso situation from happening.

Down The Road

The proposed Hofer contract saves the Blues money now, but it could also in the future. A five-year contract would take Hofer past the 2026-27 season when Binnington’s current contract is up. There has been off-and-on speculation since he has been drafted that the Blues may try to phase out Binnington. Lately, there have been rumours that if the Blues were to pursue Mitch Marner, they would have to offer Binnington to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Regardless of how, if Binnington is not a Blue beyond the 2026-27 season, that would give Hofer two seasons to prove he can be a starter. If he proves himself, the Blues (or another NHL team) can offer him a starter’s salary. If not, the Blues will not be in a poor spot financially with the contract.

The Big Picture

The Blues are at their best when they have two reliable goalies. A Hofer extension now offers them that luxury, while also giving them options down the road at a reasonable price.

Main Photo Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports


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