The St. Louis Blues have been hit hard by the injury bug this season, so far. They have managed to overcome those problems so far, but it is becoming more difficult.
St. Louis Blues fans were hoping they had seen the worst of things with all the names that were placed on injured reserve to start the 2017-18 season. Instead, that seems to have just been the beginning of a tale that keeps going downhill.
As we have well documented, the Blues were missing about a quarter of their planned starting lineup to begin the season. Still, the team persevered and had their best opening month in team history.
Things have calmed down a little bit since then, but the Blues are still battling to stay atop the Western Conference. Unfortunately, right before they face the best in the Eastern Conference, they found out the injury bug bit deeply once more.
Alex Pietrangelo has been place on injured reserve. There was no timetable given for his return, nor was there any severity listed for his injury. Being placed on IR means he will miss at least a week though. Whether that can be retroactively attributed to missing the Buffalo game or not is an unknown.
St. Louis managed to win their previous game against the Sabres without their team captain. Still, there were clear defensive lapses here and there that might become more glaring if this injury becomes a longer term issue.
Add this to the guaranteed six weeks that the Blues will be without Jaden Schwartz and you have quite the mess. The Blues will be without two of their best four or five overall players.
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Oddly enough, while the Schwartz injury had the most publicity, the Pietrangelo one came first according to the Post-Dispatch. Pietrangelo did finish the game, while Schwartz could not.
If the week starts today, Pietrangelo will miss four games. The opponents will be some heavy hitters too. They’ll see the embarrassment of offensive riches with Tampa and the heavy teams like Winnipeg (twice) and Anaheim.
Like Schwartz, Pietrangelo was on pace to challenge his career best numbers. Obviously winning games is more important, but the stats those guys were putting up definitely helps the team win.
Hopefully, this is just a short-term problem and the Blues can keep overcoming these injuries.
In the meantime, we will get to see Jordan Schmaltz come up to the Blues from the AHL. He has definitely earned a look, though it would have been nice for it not to come from an injury.
Schmaltz has 19 points in 24 games with the San Antonio Rampage. He’s also been a plus-10, so he’s defensively solid on a team that has had issues keeping goals out. Hopefully, if he’s given a chance, the lights of the NHL won’t seem any brighter and he can carry that success over.
St. Louis is definitely being tested right now. It’s nothing against any of the players they’ve called up or the ones they still have on the roster, but these guys are incredibly hard to replace.
The Blues have done well with their next-man-up mentality. They’ll have to really keep that in effect to keep winning. Fingers crossed that happens.