Blues lose Leopold to hand injury


Nov 7, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Jordan Leopold (33) defends against Calgary Flames right wing Tim Jackman (15) during the third period at Scottrade Center. St. Louis defeated Calgary 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Blues announced on Monday that defenseman Jordan Leopold will be sidelined for at least two months with a hand injury.

Leopold will require surgery to repair ligament damage in the first knuckle on his right hand:

Leopold injured his hand blocking a shot against the Calgary Flames on Thursday. He sat out Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and originally was listed as day-to-day by Ken Hitchcock:

"“We’ll know a little bit better on Monday how long he’s going to be out for,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Right now it’s just day to day and we’ll see how he feels. Whether it’s a week or two, we’ll see how it feels. We’ll know more on dates on Monday.”"

However, the severeness of the injury turned out to be much worse than originally thought. Thus, the Blues will be without Leopold for at least two months.

Luckily for the Blues, they currently have depth that can step in and fill the void left by Jordan Leopold. Ian Cole should take the vast majority of the minutes left by Leopold.

Cole played Saturday night against the Penguins, logging almost 14:00 of ice time and finishing the night a plus-one. Overall, Cole proved to the Blues coaching staff that he is more than capable of filling in for an extended period of time:

While it is unfortunate that it is happening as a result of an injury, this is a glorious opportunity for Cole to finally prove to the Blues what he is capable of given regular playing time.

Cole, a first-round draft pick of the Blues in 2007, has been buried on the Blues organizational depth-chart for several years now. While he has been up with the Blues each of the last three years, he has never been given an extended chance to be a regular in the starting lineup.

Many around the league still see a ton of potential in the former Notre Dame star. The next two months will provide a chance for Cole to validate his standing within the organization.

For now, the Blues have not decided on who they will call-up to take the spot of the seventh defenseman. All indications are they will take the remaining three games on the home stand to decide who they want to travel with them on their upcoming road trip:

The most likely candidates to receive the call-up are Cade Fairchild or Taylor Chorney. Both have had a cup of coffee with the Blues during the 2011-12 season. Fairchild played five games with the big club, while Chorney played two.

If the Blues elect to go with previous NHL experience, then Chorney may be the obvious call-up. He has appeared in 61 NHL games, including 42 with the Edmonton Oilers in 2009-10. This season with the Chicago Wolves, Chorney has three assists in 11 games.

Regardless of who the Blues eventually call up, they will most likely see little playing time and only be used in case of another injury or to give one of the regular defenseman a rest.

What do you think?

Will Ian Cole step up and be a suitable fill in for the Blues?

Who should the Blues call up to be the 7th defenseman?

Let us know in the comments section below.