St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made his fifth consecutive start Tuesday against the Florida Panthers. In those five starts, he is 4-1 and has only given up 11 goals. Expecting a rookie goaltender to be perfect is unrealistic, but expecting him to help the Blues make the playoffs is possible, especially if he has help from Jake Allen.
Jordan Binnington vs. Jake Allen This Season
Jordan Binnington is 7-1-1 this season with a .921 save percentage and a 1.88 goals-against-average. Honestly, this is not a lot of games to determine whether he is good enough to be the Blues starting goaltender yet. Give it time. However, it is enough to determine that Binnington should be in goal until the Blues have a back-to-back or he has a bad performance since he is the hot hand right now.
The Blues certainly should not put Jake Allen in net again until they have to. Allen, a usually above average goaltender, has really struggled so far this season. The six-year NHL veteran is 15-15-4 on the season with a .897 save percentage and a 3.04 goals-against-average. For reference, his career numbers show a .910 save percentage and a 2.55 goals-against-average. Even if his numbers were that good this season, Binnington still has better statistics, albeit in a small sample size. However, it needs to be taken into account that the Blues defence has been consistently bad this season due to injuries and constant pairing switches. Allen is used to a better defence helping him out.
What Goaltender Controversy?
Here’s the thing, the Blues currently sit one point out of the second wild-card spot with three games in hand on the Colorado Avalanche. They also sit seven points out of third place in the Central Division with two games in hand on the Dallas Stars. While the Blues are on a three-game win streak, they still have a lot of ground to make up. If they want to make the playoffs, they need to ride the hot hand for as long as they are hot, no matter who it is. Right now, it’s Binnington. Next month, it could be Allen. These things can’t be predicted.
That being said, contrary to popular belief, there really shouldn’t be a goaltender controversy in St. Louis unless both goalies are playing equally as good. Right now, the clear choice is Binnington. Any other choice questions how badly the Blues want to make the playoffs this season. That doesn’t mean the Blues should try and trade Allen at the deadline unless they get a truly elite goaltender in return. It means that when Binnington cools off, the Blues will need an experienced goaltender to step in and try to make the amazing saves that have helped the Blues make it to the playoffs before. When Allen cools off, the Blues will need Binnington’s rookie magic to try to steal some wins. And so on and so on until the end of the season. This can’t last forever and the Blues will eventually have a decision to make. But if they want to make the playoffs this season, they should think about using both goaltenders to their advantage. They are on the same team, after all.
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