Two years ago, Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington surprised many by taking over the starting job in St. Louis, eventually leading them to a Stanley Cup title. However, with no real track record of success before that point, the two sides eventually agreed on a two-year, $8.8MM contract, a deal that gave the Blues some financial wiggle room but also allowed the netminder to reach unrestricted free agency in his prime. That comes this summer and not surprisingly, GM Doug Armstrong told Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic (subscription link) that their intent is to work out an extension with their top goalie:
Yeah, we try and keep (contract negotiations) behind closed doors. But you know, 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.
If you look at this 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. 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.
Binnington is off to a strong start this season with a 2.37 GAA and a .918 SV% through his first dozen starts, numbers that are a bit better than his 2019-20 performance (2.56 GAA, .912 SV%). Those are certainly number starting-caliber numbers and with that means a sizable raise is coming. Rutherford reports that the expectation around the league is that the 27-year-old is in line for a deal between five and seven years with a price tag between $5.5MM and $6.5MM.
Cap space will be tough to come by for St. Louis, however. They have $59MM in commitments to just 12 players for next season, per CapFriendly, with the cap not expected to go up. Spending a quarter of that or more on Binnington – or a replacement goaltender – really will make things difficult in terms of filling out the rest of the roster with Jaden Schwartz and Mike Hoffman among the other notable pending unrestricted free agents. However, given Binnington’s importance to the Blues, it’s a price that Armstrong would be wise to pay even though it will present even more salary cap challenges in the near future. But for now, he isn’t commenting on the status of any possible talks.