It’s not exactly a secret that Ville Husso saved the Blues season this year. The former fourth-round pick by the Blues finally had his break-out season, posting a record of 25-7-6. While he took over the starting role midway through the season, his subpar numbers in the post-season gave Jordan Binnington the chance to rebound after a disappointing year.
After a sub-par season, Binnington was an entirely different player this postseason, going 4-0-1 with an incredible .947 save percentage and a 1.72 goals against average. This resurgence gave Blues fans hope that maybe he can rekindle some of his spark next season. With that being said, if Husso decides to move on in free agency, the Blues are going to have to find a backup who can shoulder some of the load if Binnington falters moving forward.
Lucky for the Blues, this season’s free agent pool does have plenty of options to find someone to split time with Binnington next season. Here is my list of the top goalies the Blues should look at to man the net alongside Binnington next season.
Despite being on the last leg of his career, Marc-Andre Fleury has proven he can still play. While he has his weaknesses, Fleury is more than capable of managing a 1A/1B role in this league.
He posted a record of 28-23-5 last season, but you have to remember, 45 of those games were with the Chicago Blackhawks, who weren’t exactly world beaters. While he isn’t the Vezina winner like he used to be, he’d be an excellent addition to the roster, and his friendship with David Perron might just help that happen.
Another former Pittsburgh Penguin, Casey DeSmith could be very interesting to watch out for come the start of free agency. He’s been the second stringer in Pittsburgh for the last few years, and despite not posting any ridiculous numbers, he’s been reliable between the pipes.
The 30 year old has played in a total of 97 NHL games, posting a record of 43-28-11, DeSmith is a goalie that is active in his crease. What he lacks in size, he makes up with agility and an ability to track pucks well.
The biggest worry with DeSmith is his injury history. He’s had two core muscle surgeries in back-to-back seasons and you have to wonder if the Blues would take the chance that he’s fully recovered.
If you’re looking for a guy who fits the story of Ville Husso prior to this season, it’s definitely Eric Comrie.
He’s a very raw goalie in terms of games played, but he’s got the skill to be a really solid goaltender. He played in just 19 games this season, the most of his NHL career, and he posted a 10-5-1 record. This is a guy who just flat out works. One of the biggest praises he has received in his young career is that he comes to work every day and competes. He doesn’t quit. He’s earned his way up the ladder and has proven he deserves the chance to play in the NHL.
He’s not the biggest guy in the net, standing at just 6’1, so his ability to play positionally has really helped him. He’s not normally caught out of position, but when he is, he’s got the ability to make some absolutely highlight reel saves. He’s definitely not the flashy option, but he’s still only 26, and has developed nicely along the way. Could be an entertaining option and would come fairly cheap.
This is probably going to be a pick a lot of people will either completely agree with, or be totally against. Much like Comrie, he’s not the flashy pick, but people in St. Louis already love “Chucky Sideburns” for what he’s done for the organization this year.
Brought in to be the starter for the Springfield Thunderbirds, and to share the net with young prospect Joel Hofer, this season was an excellent one for Lindgren. He was dominant for Springfield, ranking fourth in wins in the AHL, despite playing more than 10 less games than the three goalies above him. He was tied for second in save percentage, and was fourth among goalies in goals against average, who played more than 30 games this season. He did everything that was asked of him, and more.
During a five game stint with the Blues this season, Lindgren worked his way into Blues fans’ hearts. Lindgren went 5-0-0 during this stint, boasting a ridiculous 1.22 goals against and a .958 save percentage. Instantly, fans wanted to see more of Lindgren. During a season where goaltending wasn’t the strong suit, Lindgren caught our attention.
If anything, Lindgren has shown this season that he deserves a shot as a backup in this league. If that’s with the Blues, or another team, he’s earned his next paycheck.