Blues Goaltending Shining Bright Despite Injury Woes

Sunday night, the St. Louis Blues took to the ice at the Enterprise Center with a lineup featuring a fifth string goaltender, two lines worth of American Hockey League (AHL) players, and 10 different players out of the lineup due to injury or COVID concerns, which would grow to 11 by the end of the night. Needless to say, expectations were minimal against the Anaheim Ducks. As injuries continue to mount and responsibilities are thrust upon players’ shoulders, it has been the Blues goaltenders that have kept the team afloat in the standings as they have stolen valuable points early on. 

This season, the team has featured five different goaltenders through 28 games. The club’s four backup goaltenders have combined for seven Quality Starts in the 12 combined starts, only one above that of starting goaltender Jordan Binnington. Let’s take a look at the backup goaltenders and what their performances have looked like to help keep the organization afloat.

Ville Husso

Ville Husso is the organization’s primary backup goaltender this season, sporting a 3-2-1 record. During the 2021-22 season, he is currently tied for third in quality starts amongst goaltenders who have started at between three and 10 games, putting him in company with goaltenders Craig Anderson (BUF), Anthony Stolarz (ANA), and Kaapo Kahkonen (MIN). 

Ville Husso St. Louis Blues
Ville Husso, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images),

Despite an early-season bout with COVID, Husso has looked less like a backup goaltender and more of a platoon netminder. His 2.46 goals-against average (GAA), .927 save-percentage (SV%), and four quality starts should certainly give head coach Craig Berube options if he chooses to ease Jordan Binnington back after clearing COVID protocol.

Charlie Lindgren

Before his call to the NHL, Lindgren was signed to a one-year contract with the Blues and split start time in the AHL with Joel Hofer. In November, Lindgren started seven games for the Springfield Thunderbirds, averaging 1.70 GAA, and a .937 SV%. He was recalled on an emergency basis and would finish the last 6:25 against the Florida Panthers after Husso left the game with a lower-body injury.

This season, Lindgren has started two games, one of which was against his only former organization, the Montreal Canadiens. Lindgren competed for a full 60 minutes in each of his two starts, bringing his record with the Blues to a perfect 3-0-0 (two game started), with an impressive 1.42 GAA, a .947 SV%, and has provided Quality Starts in both games.

Jon Gilles

As the team’s depth continued to be tested, the Blues signed goaltender Jon Gilles to a one-year, two-way contract on Dec 8, 2021. In what can only be described in a “that sounds about right” manner, Gilles would start the game for his new club on Dec 12th. Though Hofer’s NHL stat line reads at an .880 save percentage, and a 3.07 goals against average, he currently ranks 11th amongst all AHL rookie goaltenders with a 2.82 goals against average, a .905 save percentage, and a 5-3-1 record.

Joel Hofer

One of the clubs’ top goaltending prospects, Hofer played two games with the Blues this season resulting in a 1-1-0 record. The 21-year-old netminder played well in both of his early starts to the season in a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks, as well as his 3-2 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Related: Blues’ Depth Forwards Rising to the Occasion

Though Hofer’s NHL stat line reads at a .880 save percentage, and 3.07 goals against average, he currently ranks 11th amongst all AHL rookie goaltenders with 2.82 goals against average, a .905 save percentage, and a 5-3-1 record.

Looking Ahead

Blues starting goaltender Jordan Binnington’s last mandated COVID absence has passed and the club could see him return to action later this week. As the organization eagerly awaits a return to normalcy, having the club’s primary starting goaltender returning is a good way to start things off. However, the coaching staff and general manager Doug Armstrong should feel confident and proud of the netminders that have been called upon so far this season. The Blues have very capable goaltenders should a situation arise that any of these men would need to be called upon once more.

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