Not often the signing of an AHL goalie gets much attention. This one, though, could mean a lot of things or absolutely nothing. Depending where you stand with the state of the current St. Louis Blues team will determine your opinion.
On January 2, 2023, the Blues signed their goalie Joel Hofer to a two-year, one-way deal, $1.55 million extension. The contract will start in the 2023/24 season and will carry an AAV of $775,000. Being a one-way contract will mean Hofer will need to clear waivers to be sent down to the American Hockey League.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba product was drafted in the fourth round, 107th overall in the 2018 NHL draft.
He went on to play three seasons in the WHL, split between the Swift Current Broncos and the Portland Winterhawks. Hofer had his breakout season in 2019/20 in Portland, owning a record of 34-8-5 with 2.49 GAA and .915 SV%. He led Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Junior Championship that season.
Currently playing in the AHL for the Springfield Thunderbirds, Hofer has a 2.39 GAA and .922 SV% in 22 games played this season. The 22-year-old appeared in two NHL games in the 2021/22 season putting up a record of 1-1.
The 6’5 goalie is in the Blues’ plans for that position. Thomas Greiss is an aging veteran on a one-year deal, and Jordan Binnington, well, he’s been Jordan Binnington of late. You never know what you’ll get from him any night. With St. Louis looking like a team that may have to start a rebuild. It is only a matter of time before Hofer is given a chance to take the reigns in the net and run with it.
With injuries and inconsistent play from many of their key players, this could just be the start of what’s to come from Blues’ GM Doug Armstrong over the next two months before the March 3rd NHL trade deadline.