The St. Louis Blues have returned goaltender Joel Hofer to the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds, according to a team release Monday.
Per the team, this was a planned transaction in order for Springfield to have Hofer in the fold as the AHL’s Calder Cup Playoffs begin. Springfield, which currently sits fourth in the Atlantic Division, has nine games remaining on their regular-season schedule.
Hofer earned an extended look in the big leagues after an impressive performance during an emergency recall earlier in the month, necessitated by a two-game suspension for starter Jordan Binnington. The 2018 fourth-round pick recorded a .915 save percentage in five appearances, going 3-0-1.
His status as a quickly-rising prospect was bolstered by last year’s playoff run in Springfield, where he helped guide them to the Calder Cup Final with a .934 save percentage in 10 playoff games. His hot play has continued this season, posting a .920 save percentage and four shutouts in 40 games with Springfield.
With backup Thomas Greiss slated for unrestricted free agency this summer, expect Hofer to take over the backup role full-time starting next year.
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