Binnington drove by the hotel he stayed at after earning his first real NHL callup at age 25 and by Enterprise Center, which became his home arena after languishing in the minors for longer than he would’ve liked. He found it important to look at the notes he saved on his phone over the years and reflect on the memories made.
“I’m sure there’ll be more,” he said.
Binnington and the Blues set the stage for that with this deal, which counts $6 million against the salary cap annually through 2026-27. Just under two years since backstopping St. Louis to its first Stanley Cup title in franchise history, the 27-year-old goaltender and the team have the security and potential to try to win it all again.
“I’m grateful and I’m very proud,” Binnington said on a video call Thursday night. “We have a special team here, a great core, veteran group and young talent and all the above. I’m happy it worked out.”
Binnington came out of nowhere to take the Blues from last in the Western Conference in January 2019 to the playoffs with a 24-5-1 record. He then became the NHL’s first rookie goalie to win each of the Cup-winning team’s 16 playoff games.
An $8.8 million, two-year deal materialized in the aftermath of the championship parade when neither Binnington nor the Blues knew what would happen next. A strong next regular season solidified his spot between the pipes.
“The resume was getting clearer and clearer,” Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. “Jordan obviously is a top goalie in the league. He’s got the pedigree of a champion.”
Armstrong acknowledged the organization didn’t believe in Binnington as much as he did in himself until showing he could be a No. 1 goalie in the NHL. He’s 9-6-3 with a 2.69 goals-against average and .908 save percentage this season and continues to find new ways to get motivated.
“I like to set short-term goals that kind of in the end hopefully turn into big goals,” he said. “I want to make the city proud, I want to continue to make my family proud and just keep pushing myself to be the best athlete and person I can be. That’s what keeps you alive.”
Binnington got the identical contract Chicago signed Corey Crawford to with one Stanley Cup on his resume half a decade ago. Armstrong said Binnington wanted to keep his deal reasonable so St. Louis could continue to ice a competitive team around him.
“I’m not looking to kind of crush the bank,” Binnington said. “It’s not all about money to me. At the end of the day, I think what you look back on and you feel in your heart is the memories made and competing and being successful and going through tough times and getting out of them and being there for your teammates. We’ve got a good respected group here and I’m excited.”
March 11, 2021