The St. Louis Blues have been hit by a rash of injuries and the season has not even started yet. While you never want any player to get hurt, the Blues are losing key guys that will be hard to replace.
The St. Louis Blues seem to be falling down to injury like a slow motion video of a house of cards. It is all crumbling at once, but happening just slowly enough for each one to set in before the next one happens.
Robby Fabbri was the latest Blues player to go down to injury. Following the team’s game in Washington, Fabbri apparently re-aggravated his surgically repaired knee.
It doesn’t matter if it was in practice or the game. The bottom line is the Blues lost one of their important players for more time.
The issue the Blues are running into right now is they are losing really important guys. Nobody that has gone down is absolutely irreplaceable, but they are important enough that they were going to be depended on for this team’s success during the season.
The Blues are at a point where three of those names, by themselves, would draw shoulder shrugs from many fans. That makes it no less important that they will be out of the lineup.
Sanford is going to miss at least a few months due to shoulder surgery. We don’t yet know his talent, but he was penciled in as one of the fourth liners with a chance to be on the third line as well.
Bouwmeester has plenty of detractors out there. He’s made many fans forget the name of Barret Jackman, he’s become so unpopular in some circles.
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The reality is that he has lost a step, he never put up the offensive numbers here that he did elsewhere and his positioning and marking have gone down the last couple years. Still, he is considered one of Canada’s better defenders and continually gets put in key situations for the national team.
Bouwmeester is still one of the Blues two to four best defenders whether fans like him or not. His absence showed plenty of holes in the team’s actual defending. Our defensive prospects are all pretty good puck movers, but like Bouw or not, they are not up to his defensive capabilities yet.
Berglund has been an enigma his entire career. Every time you think he’s about to become that power forward we’ve all dreamed of, something happens.
Mainly it has been his own inability to play up to his potential. Lately, he’s played well when healthy but has not been able to stay healthy.
Now, we need to worry about his reoccurring injuries. He’s beginning to have shoulder problems, having several surgeries now. Shoulder issues can be crippling. You have to wonder if he’ll even be the player he was, let alone the one the Blues need.
Steen had a bad year in 2016-17. Despite ending up with 51 points, he had the second lowest goal total of his career.
He might be getting older, but the Blues still needed him to provide some offensive punch. They are also going to miss his defensive abilities.
When engaged, Steen is one of the team’s best two-way players. Ken Hitchcock went so far as to say he was the Blues’ best player in the 2016 playoffs. Scoring potential plus good defending will be especially hard to replace.
Fabbri is young enough that you could expect someone to replace the numbers he has put up so far. The problem there is the Blues were expecting him to take the next step.
18 goals as a rookie had us all dreaming. He even scored 11 in an injury plagued sophomore season. If the knee is shot though, his potential has taken a serious hit.
You can play through a gimpy knee, but he might never be as explosive or quick again. That takes away much of what made him so good as a smaller player.
As stated before, none of these players’ injuries are season changers by themselves. Losing all of them at once puts a lot of undue pressure on some players that might not have been under the gun before.
Now, instead of guys making the team on their own merits, they will be pushed into roles they might not be ready for. Instead of having the freedom to play openly, they are now expected to replace quantifiably known production.
So far, none of these injuries has been season ending *fingers crossed*. However, we know how hockey injuries go. Timetables just keep getting pushed back and then the season is done.
Hopefully some, if not all, return sooner rather than later. I’m very eager to see some of the young guys get their shot, but I want it earned.
The Blues need all of their injured players to produce this season. Hopefully St. Louis is getting this injury plague over now instead of having it later in the year.