The St. Louis Blues are going to be a little thin for at least one more game. Despite that, the news regarding injuries seems mostly positive.
Well, Monday’s practice came and went and we learned very little in terms of concrete news. The only thing we know for sure is that the Blues will not be making any call ups from the AHL.
On the brighter side, that means that nobody is injured enough to be put on injured reserve. Since the Blues started the season with a full roster of 23 players, they had less wiggle room in these situations.
So, with none of the three injured players from Friday ready to be put on the shelf, that should mean none will miss significant time. Should is the key word.
We’ve seen players seem fine and then hit a random setback. Thankfully, you can retroactively use the IR list.
The problem with the injuries is going to be ambiguity. Apparently even Ken Hitchcock doesn’t have a timetable for when they could be back on the ice.
While the reasoning behind including that video was the discussion of who is not making the trip, there was a much bigger nugget there. Jaden Schwartz is apparently very close to a return.
It’s nothing to get overly excited about. It’s not as though he is coming back in week three of an eight week injury.
Assuming he does not play against Vancouver, this time of the month is roughly on pace with what they said the injury would be. Still, with the Blues sitting at 3-0-0 without him, his return would be most welcome and needed with the team now thin up front.
Schwartz is going to be leaned on for offense this season. The Blues are just a different team when he is healthy as well.
The disappointing side of the news is Jori Lehtera. With him not even travelling with the team, one can assume he is the worst off.
Unfortunately, though some people give him a hard time, he is the most important of the three. The Blues were trying to get something going with him and Vladimir Tarasenko with the idea of returning to the STL line when Schwartz got healthy.
Now, even if Schwartz returns, the lines are going to remain a mess. There is no telling who will be centering Tarasenko for the short term now.
Of course, in typical pro sports fashion, even injuries are not a sure thing. While it is likely Carl Gunnarsson and Kyle Brodziak would not return until later in the week, they are not officially ruled out against the Canucks.
To me, it is still a bit of a surprise that Landon Ferraro did not get called up. It is completely understandable with no roster space, but he would have slid into that fourth line spot like a glove.
Now, the Blues are going to have to use Alexander Steen and Robby Fabbri as centers and try to position wingers around them as well as possible. That will mean more ice time for Dmitrij Jaskin and Ty Rattie.
If Brodziak misses little to no time, that might actually help the team the most. It keeps Hitchcock from double shifting a center with the fourth line and allows Patrik Berglund to stay on the third line, where he can help most.
All in all, it seems like the Blues have dodged a bullet again. They got grazed this time, but no major bleeding – no pun intended.
It appears they won’t be without any of the players for an extended time. Now, it’s just up to those on the ice to keep taking that next man up mentality.