Blues bet big on Binnington: six year, $36M extension

Blues bet big on Binnington: six year, $36M extension
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The St. Louis Blues announced a bold — and maybe baffling — new contract extension for goalie Jordan Binnington. The Blues signed Binnington to a six-year, $36 million extension ($6M AAV), which will kick in starting in 2021-22.

Blues roll dice with Binnington extension

In a vacuum, this is already a big gamble.

Being that Jordan Binnington burst onto the scene in just 2018-19, one might assume that he’s young. While Binnington is by no means ancient, he turns 28 on July 11. So the Blues are already contending with the “aging curve” a bit here.

Beyond that, the sample size of success isn’t that large.

Yes, Binnington was incredible as the Blues crushed their Stanley Cup curse in 2018-19. Especially during the regular season, when Binnington managed a .927 save percentage over 32 games.

Since then, Binnington’s been hit-or-miss. And not just when he’s motioning like he’s going to hit Erik Karlsson. Binnington was outplayed by Jake Allen last season, and struggled with an .854 save percentage in five playoff games.

Either way, Binnington hasn’t necessarily put together the track record of success that would make you feel 100% confident to hand him a long-term, big-dollar extension. He has just 102 regular-season games on his resume.

Interestingly, the Blues showed patience in giving Binnington a two-year deal right after he won a Stanley Cup. Apparently they saw enough to believe that he’s a (positive) difference-maker in net.

Could this force other key players out of St. Louis?

He’ll need to be, because with what’s expected to be a flat salary cap for the NHL’s near future, the Blues might not be able to provide the same supporting cast for Binnington going forward.

In signing Justin Faulk, the Blues eventually had to say goodbye to Alex Pietrangelo. That’s actually worked out quite well, as Faulk’s really rebounded alongside Torey Krug.

But the point remains: the Blues might push out other helpful players in extending Binnington. Time will tell if this was a wise decision.

Considering the makeup of this team, you wonder if they might have instead been better off going cheaper in net, and hoping their strong collective play could make it work.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.