The St. Louis Blues continue to lock up their players. A day after signing Robby Fabbri and Mitch Reinke Friday, St. Louis has come to terms with one of the stars of their Stanley Cup run as the Blues announced they have signed goaltender Jordan Binnington to a two-year deal with a $4.4MM AAV, avoiding arbitration with him. That deal gives him a slightly higher AAV than backup Jake Allen, who has a 4.35MM AAV.
“We are pleased to have Jordan signed for two more years,” added Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong. “His play was outstanding and we look forward to seeing him continue to be a major contributor for our team.”
Binnington may have been the difference for a team that was in 31st place on Jan. 2 and then finished one of the most remarkable runs in NHL history by winning the Stanley Cup. The team recalled Binnington from the AHL on Jan. 7 and the then-25-year-old posted an immediate shutout in his first start. The rookie then went 24-5-1 over the remainder of the season, putting up a 1.89 GAA and a .927 save percentage, seizing the No. 1 goalie job from Allen. Binnington continued that success throughout the playoffs, putting up a 16-10 playoff record, including a 2.46 GAA and a .914 save percentage, including one shutout.
While he’s been with the Blues organization for years, up until this year, he has been sitting in the AHL with no clear-cut shot at a job with the Blues. In fact, St. Louis didn’t have an AHL affiliate last year after the Vegas Golden Knights took their affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, and the Blues were forced to loan out their prospects to a pair of different affiliates. St. Louis actually loaned Binnington out to the Providence Bruins as they couldn’t find a place to put him. Regardless, he put up good numbers that year and was dominant in the first half of the season this year with their new affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage, putting up a .927 save percentage in 16 starts.
Considering that he had made one NHL appearanIce in his career until now, many wondered what kind of contract that Binnington would receive as many people felt that he would have to prove he could repeat that string of success before he could earn a long-term contract. That proved to be true as Binnington will be betting on himself this year. The two years will take him to unrestricted free agency, which likely means that if Binnington can produce similar success next season, the Blues would likely want to sign the goaltender to an extension on July 1 next season so that Binnington wouldn’t end up on the open market in 2021.
With the signing, the Blues now have $7.12MM in projected cap space with a roster of 22 players. The team still has a number of restricted free agents, including Ivan Barbashev, Oskar Sundqvist, Joel Edmundson and Ville Husso.