Jordan Binnington, the 25-year-old, 2011 3rd round pick has been quite the story this season. Binnington came onto the Blues this season when the Blues were in last place and looking to be a guaranteed top-5 draft pick for this years NHL draft.
Well, the one thing the Blues lacked was goaltending and it played a major role in their failures in the early part of the season. Along came Jordan Binnington. Much like the Ottawa Senators and Andrew Hammond aka “The Hamburglar” when he took the league by storm from mid-February to early April in 2015. Hammond was one of the hottest goalies in the league and completely changed the fate of the Senators season during his run. During his run when the Senators had Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner sidelined, Hammond posted a 20-1-2 record, 1.79 goals-against average and .941 save percentage. Hammond propelled the Senators into the playoffs placing them fourth in the division that year but they eventually lost to Montreal 4-2 in the first round.
Well, it seems Jordan Binnington is on that same type of run. Right now Binnington is 15-2-0 with a 1.61 goals against, .936 save percentage in 18 games started. He earned NHL star of the week accolades just two weeks ago and just earned Rookie of the Month for February.
But, I don’t think the Blues want Binnington to be the next “Hamburglar”. After Hammond had his famed season he went onto post a 7-11-4 record with a 2.65 GAA and .914 save percentage the following season. And since his 2014-15 storied season he has played in 26 games total.
Either way Binnington has helped shoot the Blues back into playoff contention, in the top three in the difficult Central division and now a legitimate playoff team that many will over look. Binnington continues his unbelievable season, he has lost 1 game in the last month and 12 starts. Following his first lost of the season on Jan. 21, Binnington went to win the next nine games he played in. Binnington seems to show an uncanny amount of confidence in net and with the media after and before games. The 25-year-old phenomenon continues to impress and hopefully for the Blues he is not just a one hit wonder.
The Blues regulation loss to the New York Islanders Saturday night makes it now their 19th loss of 39 games. They currently sit 7th in the Central division and 12 points out of a wild card spot. The Blues did not anticipate a season like this and Saturday nights lost to the Islanders is a perfect example of (1) how “unlucky” this team has been (2) the lack of will, and depth scoring this team has and (3) failure to capitalize on leads. The Blues lost last night leaves them with a lot of questions to answer. With the Islanders only managing 14 shots on goal the WHOLE game the Blues still lost 4-3 in regulation. Therefore we must ask what are the Blues options right now?
Push ahead, say whatever, we wash this season away and get back after it next season. Realistically the Blues have no chance of making the playoffs right now and in the off-season they signed Patrick Maroon, David Perron, Tyler Bozak and still have Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn on longer-term contracts as well. The Blues can just continue to play, be competitive and try to win the most games they can because losing out is never something a team wants to do. Especially a team with as much talent and success as the Blues have had in the past. The Blues traded away their 1st round pick this summer for Ryan O’Reilly therefore their picks this year if they do not have this 2019 1st rounder (explain later) would be a 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th round.
Tank, try to finish within a top-10 2019 first round draft pick spot. This would be the Blues best option realistically, the conditions on the trade for O’Reilly earlier this summer was “if the Blues finish within a top-10 draft pick spot they have the option to keep the pick and give the Sabres their 2020 first round pick.” Therefore, Blues lose, who cares you are already 29 of 31 right now, it makes no sense to win.
Trade Vladimir Tarasenko, get two first round picks for this 2019 draft year (assuming they keep their 2019 this year), I will say the term rebuild loosely but “rebuild” on the fly and get a good return for Tarasenko. The Blues end up doing this, they will definitely get a first rounder from a desperate playoff team, a mid-level prospect and potential bottom-9/top-6 forward. This seems like the second best option.
Get Jake Allen out of net, and out of St. Louis and try to find a #1 goaltender. The Blues have been to the playoffs numerous times now in the last ten years and each time they have failed to convert. Partially, not the only reason but some of it is because they lack goaltending. I would say get rid of Allen and try to find someone like a Petr Mrazek that could potentially be a solid goaltender but really anything is better than Allen right now. The Blues have two prospect goalies, Ville Husso and Evan Fitzpatrick. Husso who is not playing well in the AHL right now but has put up decent numbers in his pervious two AHL season and International play. Fitzpatrick who has not put up great numbers in the ECHL this season nor the QMJHL his previous season but is a 2016 second rounder.
The Blues in my opinion, I may not watch the Blues a ton but still watching them enough to realize they do not have the goaltending to get the job done, their scoring depth is too inconsistent and Tarasenko is playing on the third line. It seems the Blues should just turn the page to 2019-2020 already and start looking at what they can do to be the best team for the start of next season.
This is going to need to be a weekly edition, or monthly. Just a brain dump of what the hell just went on and what is going on currently. Let’s get started.
Penguins might be better of with an EZ Goal Backstop in net right now
The f*cking Pittsburgh Penguins and Matt Murray, what a terrible start. This Penguins start only thoroughly annoys me because I have Matt Murray on my fantasy team but still what is going on with this Penguins team. When you look at their numbers their power play is ranked 7th in the NHL (25.4), their penalty kill is ranked 15th (80.0), goals for they rank 7th (3.33), goals for total they rank 15th (60). Their offense is there, they are scoring goals but their big issue has been in between the pipes.
Matt Murray has been pulled three times in the last six starts. He has allowed 3 plus goals against in five of his seven starts. He has a 4.08 goals against and .877 save percentage. It looks like a totally different Murray. I would not be surprised with what his contract is at 3.75 million a year the Penguins may look to move him to a team that could use a rental goalie that maybe needs a change of scenery because right now Murray looks lost and it is hurting the Penguins greatly. They score 3 goals plus a game but Murray has to stop a puck once in a while. Casey DeSmith has been able to step in and aid the poor performance of Murray but too many times the damage is done and they are out of it when DeSmith gets in. The Penguins do also lack depth scoring this year as Daniel Sprong, Derek Brassard and Bryan Rust have not been great this year they do still luckily see the majority of their points come from Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. and guys like Patric Hornqvist and Jake Guentzel. I don’t know what it is going to take for this team but you can’t make the playoffs in November but you can sure lose a spot early on. Ask the Oilers and Blackhawks about that they know it all too well from last season.
St. Louis Blues secondary scoring alive? Plus Jake Allen is a cone right now.
The team right infront Pittsburgh, the St. Louis Blues the 29th ranked St. Louis Blues. Who knew this was coming? No one probably. The Blues added Tyler Bozak, David Perron, Ryan O’Reilly, Patrick Maroon and are struggling? Well for the same reason the Penguins are goaltending has been terrible. The Blues rank 11th in goals for (3.11), 9th in power play (25.0), 21st in goals for (56), 12th in penalty kill(81.0) rank 11th in goals against total (57) and 14th in goals against per game (3.17). The Blues top guys like O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko have been off to a solid start but the fall of points from O’Reilly’ 23 points to Brayden Schenn’s 10 points is a big reason the Blues are struggling also. Once and if Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, Alex Steen and Patrick Maroon can ramp it up the Blues should be fine. They still have to worry about an inconsistent Jake Allen who is 5-4-3 in 13 starts, 3.51 goals against, .890 save percentage on the year. Like I said you can’t make the playoffs in November but you can lose a spot. Look the Blues play in one of the toughest division in hockey, they do not go on a tear soon, they will be playing catch up all season. Playing catch up vs teams like Dallas, Colorado, Winnipeg, Nashville and Minnesota you might as well start tanking now and give up because the Blues are already 9 points behind Minnesota and 11 behind Nashville. There is still a chance, a small one but the Blues are not looking to hot.
Who wins the Atlantic?
Well with the new emerged Buffalo Sabres and the Bruins battling major injuries with six defenseman out, the Lightning just being a relentless force and Leafs right behind them. This Atlantic will look very different then we imagined. There’s not a team in that Atlantic division that is below .500. The last place Panthers have three games on every other team too. This division will be very very interesting because (1) Andrei Vasilevskiy is out for 4-6 weeks no way the Lightning can score 4+ every night therefore they will drop. (2) Frederick Anderson is off to a Vezina start he will slow down a bit. (3) The Bruins have yet to play their best hockey. (4) The Sabres and Canadiens are hanging on and competing every night they are not cake walk anymore. This division will be not be determined until April probably, I really really do believe the Leafs win this division and win a playoff series finally. So go to your local site and bet the Leafs to win the Atlantic division.