ST. LOUIS - Was there ever any doubt?
Blues goalie Jordan Binnington has been named a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy, which is given annually to the player "selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition."
Proficient, eh? How's this for proficient:
Since making his first career start on Jan. 7 in Philadelphia - a 3-0 shutout, by the way - Binnington went on to post a 24-5-1 record and five shutouts in his rookie season. He led the NHL with a 1.89 goals-against average and ranked fourth overall with a .927 save-percentage (minimum of 25 games played) in his rookie season.
Binnington's 24 wins and five shutouts both set franchise records for rookie goaltenders.
The 25-year-old goalie was a third-round pick (No. 88 overall) of the Blues in 2011. He played minor-league hockey for the ECHL's Kalamazoo Wings, the AHL's Peoria Rivermen, Chicago Wolves, Providence Bruins and San Antonio Rampage. Until 2019, Binnington had appeared in just one game at the NHL level, playing 13 minutes in relief during the 2015-16 season.
"It's been a whirlwind over the last couple of years," Binnington told stlouisblues.com. "There were times where I didn't know what was going to happen with my career, so I just tried to put myself in the best position possible for if the opportunity came. Thankfully this season, I got an opportunity.
"I'm very honored," he added of being chosen as a finalist for the Calder Trophy. "It's been a long road and I'm very appreciative of the support around me and the people who have contributed to getting me where I am today."
Video: Binnington named a finalist for Calder Trophy
Binnington became the first rookie goaltender in the NHL's expansion era (since 1967-68) to finish the season with a goals-against average of 1.89 or lower and the first to do it since Al Rollins accomplished it in the 1950-51 season. Binnington also became one of just five goaltenders in history to record his first 20 wins in 25 starts or fewer.
Binnington joins Vancouver's Elias Pettersson and Buffalo's Rasmus Dahlin as a finalist for the award.
Barret Jackman is the only player in Blues history to win the Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie, claiming it during the 2002-03 season. This year's winner will be revealed at the NHL Awards on June 19 in Las Vegas, where Ryan O'Reilly is also a finalist for the Selke Trophy and Lady Byng Trophy, while Blues Head Coach Craig Berube is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as the League's top coach.
"I'm very honored and humbled to be nominated for the Calder Trophy and I'm excited about where I'm at in my career," Binnington said. "It's definitely a great start, but I'm just excited to still be in the playoffs and still be competing."