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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jordan Binnington

During the preseason, Jordan Binnington ranked number two in OHL draft eligible goaltenders behind Tyson Teichmann of the Belleville Bulls in our view.

As Teichmann struggled in Belleville, Binnington was given his shot. Expected to come in this season as backup to number 1 goaltender Scott Stajcer, the latter had a regular season ending injury to throw Binnington into the spotlight.

Binnington responded by leading his team atop of the Western Conference standings. He had a 27-12-1-4 record, posted a 3.05 goals against average and an .899 save percentage. His goals against ranked tenth during the regular season With only Mike Morrison (Kitchener) and Matej Machovsky (Brampton) as the draft eligible goaltenders ahead of him.

After getting the bulk of the ice time after the Stajcer injury, Binnington showed that he can carry the load. It was Binnington who led his Attack into the playoffs for a first round match up against the London Knights. However, things didn't start out rosy as Binnington gave way to Michael Zador and then Scott Stajcer upon his return from injury.

The Attack were on the verge of defeat in the finals against the Mississauga St Mikes Majors down 3-2. After not playing for over a month, Binnington got the call and responding with two fantastic efforts. He won game six at home and then took game seven on the road to lead the Attack to the OHL Championship and a birth in the Memorial Cup.

Binnington finished the playoffs with an 8-4 record, 2.79 goals against average and .929 save percentage. Only Morrison and Michael Houser (London) had a better GAA of draft eligible goaltenders.

He was once again spectacular in the Memorial Cup and then came a move that left fans on both sides scratching their heads. Head Coach Mark Reeds opted to go with Scott Stajcer in an elimination game instead of Binnington calling it a "gut feeling". And the move backfired as the Attack were eliminated.

For his efforts in the Memorial Cup, Binnington was awarded the Hap Emms Trophy as the top goaltender in the tournament. He was also named the top goaltender on the Memorial Cup All Star Team.

What the season and playoffs have shown is that Binnington can carry the bulk of the load during the regular season and excel. He has also shown that he can be the go to go in crucial games and lead his team in must win situations.

It is for those reasons that Binnington is now considered the top goaltender from the OHL among draft eligible goalies.

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