Joel Hofer – St. Louis Blues
St. Louis Blues goaltender Joel Hofer may be the best young goaltending prospect in the NHL. At 22 years old, he already had a taste of NHL action last season with a 3-1-1 record, a save percentage of .905 and a GAA of 3.22. For his NHL career, Hofer has a record of 4-2-1 with a 3.18 GAA and a save percentage of .900. A huge goaltender at 6-foot-5 but he needs some filling out at just 179 pounds. Hofer may be coming to the Blues at the right time to earn the starter job as Jordan Binnington has not played well in recent years and could be in danger of losing the starter job to Hofer.
The Blues do not have a set starter between the pipes and may look to Hofer to grab that spot in training camp. He has played well in a small sample size and has shown he can play against NHL competition. Last season, he played primarily for the St. Louis Blues AHL affiliate, the Springfield Thunderbirds. While with Springfield, Hofer posted a record of 27-15-5 with a 2.71 GAA and a save percentage of .921 with five shutouts.
Hofer is another young goaltender who is in line for a big year because he has one year left on his contract. Due to his age and recent performances, a new contract should be a no-brainer. He is the Blues goaltender of the future and they are looking for him to be between the pipes for the next 10-15 years. Hofer is still young and somewhat raw but he does possess the skills to be a star in the NHL and maybe a Vezina trophy or two in his future.
The starter job is Hofer’s to lose. The Blues do not have any goaltending prospects in the pipeline and Binnington is too inconsistent. Hofer has showed preomise and has battled in each of his six NHL starts last season. He has been a winner in the WHL and AHL so the NHL should be no different with time. The time is now for Hofer to make a statement but we have to remember he is still 22 years old. His projection for stardom is going up every year and he could be in line for teh Calder Trophy at seasons end.