If you have followed the St. Louis Blues this season you may have went into Christmas feeling as bitter as Ebenezer Scrooge. This was before the emergence of Jordan Binnington. The St. Louis Blues netminder has given some fans a reason to smile again.
If you were living under a rock in the hockey world you may not have heard of the name Jordan Binnington. If you’ve been above ground, then the story of this young starter has surely grabbed your attention.
Who is Jordan Binnington?
Jordan Binnington is the current starting goalie for the St. Louis Blues. The Blues netminder is a rookie this year and only started his playing debut with the St. Louis Blues on January 7th, 2019.
The young goalie who is now 25 years old has an impeccable record. Binnington, who was born in the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, played his youth hockey with the Vaughan Kings in the Greater Toronto Area. This 6’1″ 175 pound goalie is in his first partial year of the NHL.
Binnington was drafted in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and selected in the third round, 88th overall. Binnington’s path to the NHL has been an unusual route. He played on a number of teams before getting his start with the Blues.
The former OHL Owen Sound Attack goalie has played in a number of cities since being drafted in 2011. The most notable of teams he has played for are the Chicago Wolves and this year the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL. That all changed on January 7th 2019, where he debuted against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Why it Matters?
Why does Jordan Binnington matter? To start this off we must go back to the first game of this year that Binnington played in. The St. Louis Blues were in dead last and were playing the Philadelphia Flyers.
Binnington played his first game registering a shutout in a 3-0 win. He became only the 35th goalie to get his first career NHL shutout in his first career NHL game.
Over the next several weeks Binnington continued to build a brick wall around the St. Louis Blues net. On February 11th, he earned the NHL First Star Of The Week. During the week he had helped the Blues go on a 6 game winning streak leading the charge with 3-0-0 record.
During this time as a rookie he ended up winning Rookie of the Month for February and March.
Binnington will likely be placed on the list of players to be named Rookie of the Year, and deservingly so, as his performance this year has been amazing.
This year though, the Vancouver Canucks have an all star 19 year old by the name of Elias Pettersson. Elias has put up phenomenal numbers in Vancouver and, because of his age, is probable to be the 2019 Calder Trophy winner.
Jordan Binnington rookie of the year?
Many people wonder if there is a case for Jordan Binnington to be rookie of the year. Of course there is and I think we can make it here. Many of the hockey analysts have discounted Binnington because of his age when he broke into the NHL. Many more have said he hasn’t played enough games.
Both of these are true to the nature of the award. Fortunately for Binnington there is a precedent for awarding the Calder Trophy to older players. If we want to mention an older player who has won the Calder Trophy we can look no further than the Sergei Makarov.
The 31 year old Russian hockey player broke into the league in the 1989 – 1990 season with the Calgary Flames. One of the first Russians to come over from the former Soviet Union, Makarov destroyed completion to take home the Calder Trophy at 31 years old.
This one player alone should break the thought of the analysts. Binnington who is a goalie is playing in a league where the average age of a goalie is well over the mid 20’s. To top it off the premier star goalies in the league are all over 30 years old.
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Another example of a goalie winning the Calder Trophy at 25 is Ed Balfour. Eddy the Eagle went on to become a premier goalie in the NHL and was certainly deserving of the award at his tender age of 25.
Now if we take the age factor out of it, has Binnington played enough games? It is no doubt he has and with the remarkable play that he has distributed he has definitely played enough games.
Binnington has started in 28 games this season and the Blues have just a couple games left. When he debuted the Blues were in dead last. Now that he has played they are looking to get home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
More factors to consider are this. Binnington, who started 28 games, has a stellar record of 22 wins and 5 regulation losses. This record alone won’t be enough to get him over the hump. What is really intriguing is that he has 5 shutouts to go along with his 22 wins.
This means that as of today Jordan Binnington has just as many shutouts as he does losses. In today’s high-scoring NHL, that should matter. Another factor should be his 1.87 goals against average which will end up being one of the best in the league. Not to be outdone by this stat, he has a remarkable save percentage of .927.
We will have to wait a little longer to know if he will capture the trophy this year but my gut feeling is that the hockey world has already given it to Elias Pettersson.