Best Blues’ Goaltender by Decade

As we round out the by decade lists for the St. Louis Blues forwards, defensemen, and now goaltenders, there are a lot of players to consider given the rich history of the franchise.

Out of all the great goaltenders that have played in St. Louis, only one could lead them to the Stanley Cup victory of 2019, Jordan Binnington. He has had a great last couple seasons, is that enough to make the list though?

The 1960s: Glenn Hall (1967-1971)

Glenn Hall played the back-end of his career with the Blues — four seasons during the beginning of the franchise, after the 1967 expansion. He was the “first Blues player,” being the first player they selected in 1967. He did some major things as the goaltender for the Blues, winning awards and contributing to team success.

Glenn Hall (THW Archives)

The Blues claimed 36-year-old Hall in the 1967 Expansion Draft from the Chicago Blackhawks. His four seasons in St. Louis were solid statistically, especially with his age.

Related: The Best of ‘Mr. Goalie’ Glenn Hall

He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1968 during the first season he played in St. Louis. He had a 2.44 goals against average (GAA) and a .916 save percentage (SV%) in the playoffs, leading in multiple categories that year.

He followed up the Smythe with a great 1968-69 season where he finished eighth for the Hart Trophy and won the Vezina Trophy for the league’s best goaltender. He had a .928 SV% and a 2.17 GAA in his impressive run.

Overall he won 57 of 140 games for the Blues, and had a career .917 SV% and 2.43 GAA. Despite only playing four seasons with the franchise, he’s the clear choice within the three seasons they played in the 1960s. He’s a Hockey Hall of Famer, mostly for his play with the rival Blackhawks, but his time in St. Louis was great, too.

The 1970s: Ernie Wakely (1969-1972)

This is a tough one — there isn’t much to choose from here. Only a couple goaltenders played over 100 games for the franchise in the 1970s decade. But the choice here is Ernie Wakely, who only played 111 games for the Blues. He had good stats during his short time in St. Louis.

Ernie Wakely (THW Archives)

In the 1969-70 season, he played in 30 games and won 12 of them with a .930 SV%. He also had the league’s top GAA at 2.11 in that season. He expanded his role with the club the following season, playing in 51 games. He won 20 that year and had a .902 SV%.

He struggled in his last season with the Blues, carrying a .894 SV% and a 3.40 GAA. He had a record of 8-18-2 that season, too. He struggled in the playoffs as well for the Blues, winning two out of six games.

Overall, he had two really good seasons with the club and that was it, but he was better than anyone else they had in the 1970s. He went on to the World Hockey Association (WHA) in 1972 and was selected in the draft by Winnipeg.

The 1980s: Mike Liut (1979-1985)

For the 1980s, it’s unquestionably Mike Liut. The all-time franchise leader in wins played over five seasons for the club in the first half of the 1980s.

Goalie Mike Liut
BOSTON, MA – 1980: Goalie Mike Liut #1 of the St. Louis Blues (Photo by B Bennett/Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images)

Liut kicked off his NHL career with a 32-win campaign in 1979-80. His SV% and GAA won’t look great compared to what people look for, but he was playing in the live puck era, where goal scoring was on another level in comparison to now.

He won 33 games in 1980-81, he took home the Pearson Award (Ted Lindsay Award). Overall, he won 151 games for the franchise, still tops in franchise history. Jake Allen has 148, so he is closing in on Liut.

Related: Top 3 All-Time Blues Goalies

Despite his stats not looking great, he won a lot of games and was a good goaltender for the franchise over half a decade. Many regard him as one of the top goaltenders of Blues’ history.

The 1990s: Curtis Joseph (1989-1995)

With the 1990s, you have Curtis Joseph and Grant Fuhr. I went with Joseph in a close one. He was a good goaltender for six seasons in St. Louis and left a big mark on the franchise’s history.

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He faced a lot of shots in his time, and his stats being as good as they were was fantastic considering it was the back-end of the live puck era. He won 20 or more games in four of his six seasons for the Blues, leaving him at third all-time franchise history in goaltender wins with 137.

Once he took the starting role after the first couple of seasons, he took off. In 1991-92, he played 60 games and won 27 of them with a .910 SV%. He followed that season up with 29 wins and a .911 SV% and finished third in Vezina Trophy voting. He had a special playoff run in 1992-93, tallying a .938 SV% and a 7-win run, losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs later.

In 1993-94, he tied his overall career high with 36 wins and a .911 SV%, finishing fourth in Vezina Trophy voting. His last season with the Blues was 1994-95, he went 20-10-1 with a .902 SV%. They traded him to the Edmonton Oilers in 1995 after that season. He left his mark with the franchise, being one of the all-time fan favorites in club history.

The 2000s: Manny Legace (2006-2009)

The 2000s was a weird decade of goaltending for the Blues without a lot of consistency for the starting spot. Manny Legace was only with the club for three seasons but tallied solid regular stats. Chris Mason was a close second for this one.

Manny Legace in St. Louis (Herkie/Flickr)

The Blues signed Legace in August of 2006, a free-agent deal. He was coming off a season with the Detroit Red Wings in 2005-06 where he finished fifth in Vezina Trophy voting.

During his first season with the club, he won 23 games and had a .907 SV% overall. He then played 66 games the next season and won 27 with a .911 SV% — a good follow-up season for him. He struggled in his third and final season in St. Louis, winning just 13 games and having an .885 SV%.

Related: Best Blues’ Center by Decade

Overall, he won 63 games over 3 seasons and had a .905 SV%. He ranks 11th all-time in games played by a goaltender in franchise history. Overall, he had good regular season numbers but never made the playoffs with the Blues.

The 2010s: Jake Allen (2013-Present)

This was a tough call, as Jaroslav Halak had fantastic seasons for the Blues in the 2010s, winning a Jennings Trophy with great stats. But Jake Allen has been a longtime goaltender for the club, as both a starter and a backup.

Jake Allen St. Louis Blues
Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

For a long time, Allen has been liked and disliked by the St. Louis fan base, but overall he’s been a great Blue. He has been one of the best goaltenders in franchise history.

In his first season, in 2014-15, he won 22 games and had a .913 SV%. He finished 10th in Calder Trophy voting that season. From 2015 to 2017, he was on a tear, with a 59-35-8 record and a .917 SV%.

His production fell off after that. Over the next two seasons, he boasted a 46-42-11 record with a .906 SV%. Those numbers aren’t terrible, but they are nothing compared to what he did in the previous two seasons.

He re-made himself in 2019-20, being the backup to Binnington for the entire season. He played the role well, with a 21-12-6 record while boasting a .927 SV%. It remains to be seen whether Allen will remain with the club after this season, but what a ride its been for him. He is second all-time in franchise history for wins with 148.

The history of goaltenders for the club varies by decade, but it is safe to say they should be set for a while with Binnington, a goaltender who led them to a Stanley Cup title after one season in the league.